I just finished reading the July 6–12 “This Is Your Country on Drugs” issue cover to cover, and I am both stunned and delighted. The state of drug prohibition is a very hot topic these days, yet it’s one that the mass media are reluctant to handle. I’m glad to see that the L.A. Weekly isn’t afraid to step forward and give this issue the time it deserves.

—Adam Wiggins



Re: Michael Simmons’ “One Toke Over the Line.” Thanks for taking some bull’s-eye shots at America’s lunatic drug war. Prohibition poses as a moral crusade, but it is based on lies, dissembling and noxious propaganda. It is a destructive policy serving no useful purpose. When drugs were legal, addicts held regular employment, raised decent families and were indistinguishable from their teetotaling neighbors. When addicts used cheap, pure Bayer Heroin, overdoses were virtually unheard-of.

Thanks for exposing our moronic prohibitionists.

—Redford Givens
San Francisco



Re: Jerry Stahl’s “Confessions of a Celebrity Dope Fiend.” I rather enjoyed this sarcastic, ironic, sadistic article. It’s nice to see an article that does such a good job of giving an inside look at the path to self-destruction.

—Angela Hancock
Los Angeles



The Dean Kuipers story “Less Than Zero” is amazing! I agree with his observations completely. Life has become far more complex, and people do not have the time — or make time — to think about what would truly benefit society as a whole. We have become more and more selfish and self-righteous, succumbing to easy “solutions” to our “problems.” I am referring to the “shits,” of course, and rooting for the “Johnsons”!

—Irma Martinez
West Covina



What a wonderfully perverse way to commemorate Independence Day: by celebrating the 1960s narcissistic revolution. It was a fascinating read to see how the rich and upper-middle-class recreational-drug users are piqued by society’s refusal to legalize drugs. But what about those lower down the ladder, especially poor minorities? The ’60s cultural revolution, led by rich white bohemians, told the world to reject the old-fashioned, unhip Protestant work ethic as oppressive. Unfortunately, a lot of the poor and minorities bought into it. But what the hell, at least the underclass have the crocodile tears of the left to comfort them. I bet not one of the writers for this issue has ever set aside two seconds to think their selfishness might have consequences.

But then again, that’s what narcissism is all about. A great follow-up would be an issue devoted to that other pillar of ’60s narcissism, the sexual revolution. It would make a great Christmas issue. You could have writers celebrating the destruction of the family (33 percent illegitimacy rates nationwide, 69 percent among blacks, children raising children, etc.). And I’d get to write another letter to the editor.

—Michael LeFlore
Manhattan Beach



Congratulations on your decision to devote your Independence Day issue to the drug war as a way of twitting Americans for their hypocrisy. I have only one minor correction to your introductory editorial: The drug war didn’t start with Ronald Reagan; it was originally declared, in 1972, by Richard Nixon as a way to punish his multiple and varied political enemies; the pertinent history is documented in Dan Baum’s carefully researched Smoke and Mirrors (Little Brown, 1996). Because the distractions of Watergate intruded, Nixon was never able to really use his creation; Ford and Carter were indifferent to it. You are correct in the sense that Reagan rediscovered it, but the concept, design and weaponry for the drug war had all been created for him by the first Nixon administration, more than 10 years earlier.

—Tom O’Connell, M.D.
San Mateo



I want to compliment Joseph Treviño on his story “Demons on Broadway” [June 29–July 5]. I don’t recall any other media outlet in Southern California willing to deal with the issue of La Iglesia Universal del Reino de Dios. Neither La Opinión nor the Los Angeles Times. Your exposé will help a lot of people to stay away from those demons and their business of playing with the faith of the people. Hopefully, authorities one day will look into their way of operating and stop their religious charade.

—Francisco Rivera
Los Angeles



My parents go to this church. They are in their 70s. I went once â with them, and it was all about intimidation. My dad, who has a problem with his prostate but refuses to do anything about it because he believes the “oil brought back from the Holy Land” will cure him of his problem, still has to go every 15 minutes to the bathroom, and he sees nothing wrong with that. He just goes and spends hours on the weekends in that church, a church that preys on people’s emotions, their guilt, their shame, their poverty, their depression. I don’t know what to do. Please stop these con artists.

Granada Hills



Three cheers for S.L. Duff’s article “Is the Corpse Smelly Yet?” [June 22–28]. Not since Steve Albini’s genius manifesto “The Trouble With Music” or Courtney Love’s online Napster letter has anybody struck the nail on the head with such spot-on accuracy. For struggling musicians blindsided and dazed by the recent upheaval and morphing of the music industry (a good thing?), it’s hard to know which way is up these days. Duff’s article cuts to the quick, dealing with so many subjects at once that have, for many years now, made me want to “rip my own head off and throw it out the window.” Everyone has known for some time how much the industry sucks ass; it’s just nice to have it sized up in such an acerbic, focused and articulate manner. Good job!

—Eric Skodis
Los Angeles



Mr. Duff’s article on independent labels is perhaps the best thing I have ever read on this subject. Thank you for having the courage to share this with your readers.

—William Graves
Los Angeles



Manohla Dargis’ review of A.I. [“Clash of the Titans,” June 29–July 5] missed a rather important plot point concerning the film’s conclusion. The writer refers to “space aliens” in the muddled final reel. The critic obviously missed the fact that these were not aliens, but instead, the next evolution in man-made robots, as the interior circuitry visible through the thin, membranelike skin clearly revealed.

One can only wonder what else Dargis didn’t get.

—Joe Palladino
Waterbury, Connecticut



Regarding Manohla Dargis on A.I.: Great review. Weird movie. Would love to know exactly what she meant by “Time and again with Spielberg, sentimentality is nothing other than a polite form of sadism.”

Smells true.

—Lisa Scheffer
Richmond, Virginia



What a brilliant article! When I read Manohla Dargis’ review, my heart was jumping for joy. Then came the capsule review. I cannot believe someone was able to sum up Mr. Spielberg’s shameless artistic atrocities in a few words and in such a correct and to-the-point manner. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you sooo much!

—Gerhardt Kleindl
Los Angeles


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