Letters to the Editor

Week of 08-22-2007

Russian Parole-ette

Reader drops science: I believe in restorative justice. It sounds like attorney Charles Carbone is fighting the good fight ["Barred for Life," Aug. 15] on behalf of prisoners who need and deserve a capable advocate.

But let's hope he doesn't believe that he's actually carrying around a "little plastic bottle of liquid oxygen," as Sasha Abramsky reports. The stuff boils at -182 degrees Celsius (-297 degrees Fahrenheit for old-school folks), freezes skin and bones on contact, and makes petrochemicals explode unpredictably.

But it would cool off his tea rapidly.

A. Rausch

San Francisco

Old Faces at New College

Musical chairs: Please bear in mind that Luis Molina was hand-picked by Martin Hamilton and Peter Gabel to be interim president ["New College of Weirdness," Matt Smith, Aug 15]. The last time WASC came close to shutting down New College, Gabel was forced to resign as president and Hamilton was put in as president. Gabel remained on the board and nothing changed. Hamilton is no longer president, but he is still on the board, along with Gabel and Henry.

Change will come only when we have a Board of Trustees democratically elected by students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae, with term limits for board members and the president. Student, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae board members must not be ex officio, but full voting members.

Holly Harwood

New College Independent Alumni/ae Association

San Francisco

Here's our favorite from Jefferson: "Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper":I couldn't figure out whether Matt Smith assumed we were enjoying his deadpan joke, or whether he had actually accepted Professor Adam Cornford's attribution of "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance" to Barry Goldwater.

I can vaguely remember Goldwater's 1964 campaign slogans like "Extremism in the cause of [whatever right-wing agenda he was pushing] is no vice." And downhill from there to "In your heart you know he's right." I don't remember his ever parroting the "eternal vigilance" statement; nor would he have dared try to pass that off as his own. He knew that all our fourth-grade teachers had taught us that it was Thomas Jefferson or Tom Paine or Patrick Henry or one of those guys.

Readers don't expect writers like Matt Smith to know or to remember or to do investigative research on everything, and, of course, we love correcting them. No hard feelings [on] either side, I hope.

My real point is that if I were reviewing accreditation of a college where a professor gave Goldwater credit for this quotation, I'd have some doubts about the place. And if I ran the place, I'd get rid of any teacher who made this kind of mistake, not for his politics, but for incompetence.

D. Bryant


Play on, Playa

Burn on, you crazy diamonds: I enjoyed Frances Reade's trashing of Burning Man ["Burning Books," Books, Aug. 15]. Your use of the word "atheist" in the lead sentence was apt, except it's us non-participants who are faithless. What gives us the gall to disparage an event we'll never attend? We must admit, Burning Man is unique. Where else can a person enjoy drugs, searing heat, dirt, a horde of unwashed people, and group creativity? Go, all ye faithful. Goddess-speed.

John Paul Turnage

San Francisco

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