Peace on the Border
David Weigel's "Peace on the Border" (February) is billed as an explanation of "why anti-immigration conservatives fell flat in 2006." Weigel pulls the mainstream media trick of labeling people who are against illegal immigration as anti-immigration.
I am against illegal immigration because I do not want benefits from my tax dollars going to undocumented workers. Also, from a national security point of view, it doesn't do the government any good to search everyone on a plane for toothpaste while we let thousands of potential terrorists cross our borders everyday.
After the Damascus Spring
Guy Taylor did a great job writing about Syrian bloggers and Internet freedom in "After the Damascus Spring" (February). If you're looking for a delicious irony, consider my story: I created a political website for Syrians inside Syria. It was blocked and nobody in the country could view it.
Why? Not because of Assad or some other Syrian control freak—because of godaddy.com, from which I bought the domain name. Because of U.S. sanctions, no one inside Syria (or any other sanctioned nation) is able to view any site that GoDaddy registers or hosts. Is that insane or what?
My interest in the field of Internet freedom has led me to research the Internet situation in China, where, very much like Taylor reports from Syria, the government uses the Internet to track down its opponents and restrict citizen activity. But it is very hard to find actual evidence and testimony from Chinese citizens still living within China's borders. Taylor's insightful and fascinating article has the advantage of testimonials from people on the ground in Syria.
Pot Clubs in Peril
Thanks for a great job on the article "Pot Clubs in Peril" (February). I operate the club at 194 Church Street that is mentioned in the article. I hope the article brings attention to the fact that no access is worse than limited access. We now face an additional hurdle: Despite the fact that we serve wheelchair-bound patrons at the door with a discount, there is a possibility that our permit will be rejected due to the fact that we are not wheelchair-accessible.
SF Medical Cannabis Clinic
San Francisco, CA
Working for a physician who writes recommendations for medicinal marijuana users, I have found a problem with the way the state has implemented the ID card program. The program itself is not a bad idea, just a poorly thought-out one. Since the state dates the card a year and a day from the time the picture for the ID is submitted, it opens up a loophole. Patients can skip seeing a doctor for up to one year but still have access to medicine and a free pass with law enforcement.
Only two counties have agreed to match the dates of the IDs to the dates of the prescription. The others seem not to care even when warned of the high potential for abuse. The health departments have the authority to change the way dates are recorded on the IDs while still following state law; they just do not want to deal with this matter.
We the Living Dead
An intriguing side note to Tim Cavanaugh's review-essay on zombie films ("We the Living Dead," February): George Romero has pointed to Richard Matheson's 1954 horror novel I Am Legend as an inspiration for Night of the Living Dead. Matheson's novel itself has had a long and still-ongoing afterlife on film: It was first filmed in the mid-'60s as The Last Man on Earth, a low-budget Italian-American co-production starring Vincent Price; it was remade and reimagined in 1971 as The Omega Man, a high-budget Charlton Heston vehicle; and it is being remade right now, right here in New York City, as I Am Legend, a very high-budget, high-profile production. It will star—interestingly, in view of Annalee Newitz's thesis that zombies are symbols of racial oppression—Will Smith.
Mary Ellen Kelly
New York, NY
The Politics of Pants
Charles Paul Freund's "The Politics of Pants" (February) brought back memories. My late father used to complain about the love his baby boomer kids had for wearing jeans or, as he invariably called them, dungarees.
Dad's comment whenever one of the brood tried to pull off wearing denim to any social event was, "You know, we used to make POWs wear that stuff when I was in the Army." Mind you, he and my mom saw nothing wrong with wearing jeans when we were playing softball in the back yard, but just try to wear even brand new black jeans to church—even the "folk mass"—and you'd be sent to your room to change. The idea that employees not engaged in physical labor would wear them to work would have flummoxed him.
A Chilling Tale of Global Warming
Katherine Mangu-Ward's article on the U.N.-sponsored children's book ("A Chilling Tale of Global Warming," February) was a hoot. The climatology contingent from the Planetary Society must be rolling in the aisles even as its past demigod emeritus, Carl Sagan, is spinning in his grave. The planetoid Sedna, named for the goddess featured prominently in the book issuing warnings about global warming, is one of the coldest bodies in the Solar System. Several other Inuit deities have already had their names attached to Kuiper Belt ice balls cold enough to freeze liquid nitrogen.
In the race to be coldest, Sedna's rival is 2003 UB313, a.k.a. Xena, a charcoal ball whose even dimmer companion moon was naturally christened Gabrielle until the International Astronomical Union Committee on Small-Body Nomenclature and the Working Group on Planetary-System Nomenclature spoiled the fun by formally renaming the dwarf planets Eris and Dysnomia.
The names may reflect the ferocious infighting within the International Astronomical Union, Eris being the Greek Goddess of Strife, Dysnomia the muse of anarchy.
Corrections: In "We the Living Dead" (February), Resident Evil was incorrectly described as having inspired four Hollywood movies starring Milla Jovovich. It has inspired three.
Contrary to a statement on the March "Contributors" page, the title of Brian Doherty's book Radicals for Capitalism was derived from Ayn Rand, not Milton Friedman.