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Regarding your recent endorsement for president: Ralph Nader relentlessly sounds the twin themes that a) corporations have too much power, and b) government today is up for sale to the highest bidder. Both correct, but whence does he think corporations derive such power? Corporate charters, with their insidious exemptions from various liabilities, are a creation of Big Government. Na der’s “solution” has a blind spot: He proposes to vest even more power in the government, which will only give the politicians more favors and influence to peddle. So how does that separate him from Bush and Gore, except in the details?

For all the Green rhetoric about corporate abuse, it is the Libertarians who recognize that the “abuse of power” is but a symptom of the more fundamental problem — namely, the power to abuse. If we reduced the federal government to its actual constitutional functions, as enumerated in the body of that document and clarified by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, then corporations would no longer be able to buy favors, for the feds wouldn’t have any to sell.

Which is why, incidentally, it is disingenuous for Nader to claim that he doesn’t support the war on drugs. Yes, he does — for he supports the power the government wields in the exercise of such insanities. When you give the feds the power to impose your version of good onto society, you give them the power to impose someone else’s. And their version of good might be your version of evil. A society of truly free minds and free markets could never force that on us; the politicized version that Nader endorses can. And already does, every day.

—Brian Mulholland
North Hollywood



As an aspiring writer and soon-to-be filmmaker, I would like to thank L.A. Weekly for the October 20–26 cover package entitled “Black Film Now.” As a filmgoer, I have to say that black films at times are an embarrassment, because not all African-Americans want their movies to resemble an ass-shaking, thong-showing trashy music video. We still have a very long way to go in understanding what the black communities really want and what is the bottom line.

—Tina Jeffries
Akron, Ohio


Loved the roundtable article on black women directors and just wanted to point out one error: Darnell Martin and Cheryl Dunye have both shot second features: Martin’s film Prison Song (I think that’s the name of it) was shot a while ago, and Dunye just wrapped her feature Stranger Inside, right there in L.A. Although it’s true that Martin’s downtime between first and second features was way too long (though pretty normal for any indie filmmakers who are doing challenging material), Dunye spent about three years after the release of Watermelon Woman researching and developing Stranger Inside, and as soon as the script was ready, it went into production.

So add two more directors to your list, and be on the lookout for strong work to come from directors Lisa Collins, Tanya Hamilton, Patrice Mallard and others.

—Jim McKay
New York City


How could Manohla Dargis introduce the “black film issue” without a mention of Marlon (Tongues Untied, Black Is . . . Black Ain’t) Riggs? Is the film editor homophobic, or is it just that tired parochial L.A. attitude of “If it isn’t made here, it’s not worth mentioning”?

—Craig Kepler
Minneapolis, Minnesota


I’m so glad that you guys did a feature on black female directors. It seems today that if your film isn’t the commonplace “buffoon” piece, or doesn’t have a slew of rappers in it, it isn’t representative of the black populace (which is not true). Continuing giving directors such as these more media coverage will help tarnish that idea, and perhaps there will be more cinematic features such as Love & Basketball, Daughters of the Dust and Eve’s Bayou. Keep up the good work!

—K. Tyson



Re: “Hardball” [cover story, October 13–19]. During a largely misspent youth, I had the good fortune to be much involved in baseball. John Albert convincingly and movingly shows us how this game can also have a salutary effect on adults.

—R. Munro


Here I am sitting 34 miles north of New York City, hating the Yankees and missing Los Angeles. John Albert’s story reminds me of why I love L.A. so much. It’s the people. It’s great to read about someone who lives life with a passion, and a twisted personality. Thanks for publishing it, and thanks for the Web site so I can read it 3,000 miles away.

—Matt Hourihan
Briar Cliff Manor, New York ã


Re: John Albert’s “Hardball” story. Keep an eye on this guy. And give him some space. He’s not Henry Rollins, but he’s got the same smell. Great story from a road warrior.

—Dan Malloy
Boston, Massachusetts



It’s encouraging to us fledgling writers that the fantastic Manohla Dargis isn’t immune from the occasional flub in her always pithy and urbane film column. Franco phones furrowed brows reading, in her AFI Fest preview [Calendar section, October 20–26], Samira Makmalbaf, daughter of Iranian filmmaker Mohsen, referred to as “fils.” She is, of course, her father’s “fille.”

—Mark Wright



Re: Ben Ehrenreich’s “Pass the Ballot, My Friend” [October 20–26]. Although many share his views about Ritalin and its covert abuse, I strongly disagree. I’m a 14-year-old currently being medicated with Ritalin and Paxil. I attend a drug rehab along with around 20 other teens. The majority have ADHD/ADD along with other disorders and learning disabilities; they have gone untreated, not to mention ridiculed, for being “stupid” since first grade. With frustrated parents, low grades and even lower self-esteem, most of us self-medicated. Pot seemed to make us “slow down” and “feel normal.”




Re: “The Decline of Western Civilization, Part III” [October 13–19]. What was the point in printing Bob Mack’s nauseating attack on tribute bands? You may as well have a pro-wrestling fan write about ballet, or vice versa. I’m curious why he didn’t bother to ask for opinions from some of the “regular” people who pay to see the tribute acts he mentioned. Obviously, there are a lot of people who enjoy these shows. So who really cares if Mr. “Artsier Than Thou” Mack enjoys them or not? I saw Pink Floyd perform The Wall in Long Island, yet I can still enjoy a performance of Which One’s Pink? Not all of us make a living at being snobs.

—Gary R.



Thanks for finally running Tony Millionaire’s beautiful, harrowing and hilarious “Maakies” strip. Your comics page is now near perfect. (A second page of comics by the likes of Steven Weissman, Dave Cooper or Sam Henderson wouldn’t hurt.) I hope this addition is a permanent one.

—Gus Mastrapa
Los Angeles



Just a word of appreciation for Steven Mikulan’s beautifully written obit of Gus Hall [“Lost in Yonkers,” October 20–26]. As a writer and editor, I am constantly impressed by the quality of the writing in the L.A. Weekly.

—Helen Colton
Los Angeles

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