Letters to the Editor

Week of December 18, 2002

Calling all Poindexters

Don't try this at home, kids; try it at work!: After reading Matt Smith's column “Calling All Yahoos” [Nov. 27], I think it crosses the line to harass people at home on work-related issues. A better approach than phoning John Poindexter at home is for SF Weekly readers to provide feedback on the Total Information Awareness program to these TIA team members at their work e-mail addresses:

Dr. John Poindexter,

Ms. Kristen Numrych,

Dr. Robert Popp,

Mr. Thomas Armour,

Ms. Jan Walker,

My own view is that the TIA funds would be better spent catching bin Laden and his cronies. I'm still very confused why the Pentagon allowed them to escape from Afghanistan last December.

Richard M. Smith
Brookline, Mass.

Since Poindexter will probably start a file on me, I'm starting a file on him: I commend Smith on his proposal for California nationhood. I was fascinated by the history of Stuttering Zeke and his cohorts.

I'm on the moderate side, politically speaking, but the folks up here in the great state of Oregon only elected one Republican and he promises he's a moderate himself. Most of us up here who are familiar with Poindexter's antics are rather disgusted by him and his masters. And although we have taken issue with some Californians for spending way too much time in our state, I'm sure we dislike Poindexter far more. So for the sake of West Coast solidarity, maybe Oregon could join California in this venture. I wonder if Washington would be interested?

Do you suppose I'll get an FBI file for proposing secession? Even if I don't, I'm sure Poindexter will have one; he seems like that kind of guy. Of course, I'm starting a file on him.

Don Daeges
Portland, Ore.

Just say no to superspooks: I sent Poindexter this “opt out” letter last week. Everyone should attempt to opt out of TIA!

“Dear Mr. Poindexter,

I understand your office is working on the new Total Information Awareness database. The purpose of the program, to detect, classify and identify foreign terrorists, is certainly a goal every American can wholeheartedly support. I am somewhat concerned however by the potential for abuse of such a comprehensive database by unethical persons. Of course I'm sure the only people officially permitted to access this data will possess the highest moral and ethical standards. Nonetheless, we have repeatedly seen unauthorized access to many private records, credit reports and confidential databases, both business and governmental, by criminals and other unethical people in the last few years. While I am sure your department will use the latest security technology to protect confidential data, the best defense against data abuse is not to have your data included.

I would like to certify now, under penalty of perjury, that I am not a terrorist, have never been a terrorist and do not support terrorists, foreign or domestic. Furthermore, some of my ancestors have been in this country over 350 years, some fought in the American Revolution that formed our country. They have also defended this country in every war from the French & Indian wars, the Civil war, Spanish American and Philippine Insurrection, down to the present. In fact, I am related to the Bush family as well as other former presidents.

I mention this so you will know that there can be no question as to the patriotism of my family. In light of this, I would like to 'opt out' of the Total Information Awareness database. Inclusion of my data would be unnecessary and unhelpful in your quest to identify terrorists. In fact, with the massive amounts of proposed data collection, data from loyal Americans will just confuse and obfuscate the information you are seeking about terrorists. Thank you for taking the time to read this and remove me from all your databases.”

Rick Thompson

Secession recollection: This article reminded me of two things. First, the novel Ecotopia, where the West Coast did just what Smith prescribes. Made it sound like Portland, kind of, but with no Subarus.

The other thing I thought of was a graphic that ran in Spy magazine in the early '90s in which the secession fantasies of a variety of groups were compared and found to coincide nicely with an ecotopia, an Aztlán, a white-power homeland, and a new confederacy in the South split with black nationalists. I think Jews and Yankees owned the northeast.

Alaska is almost over the secession craze. Our strange and fearless leader was shot by his estranged male “friend” (possibly lover, but politically unacceptable within that group and causing some cognitive dissonance). Now we are firmly latched on to the federal teat and loving it!

Erik D. Hilsinger
Eagle River, Alaska

Respect Due!

Keith is still kool, despite his recent flakiness: I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents on Dan Strachota's Kool Keith article, as I have known Keith and KutMasta Kurt for many years and worked with 'em on some of the projects he mentions [“Keith's not always so cool,” Pop Philosophy, Nov. 27]. I totally agree that Keith's no-show was irresponsible and unjustified; the dude has a serious timeliness disorder which I can personally vouch for! It sucks that his fans got stiffed because he was riding with a drunk chick around S.F., and I have no idea why he didn't catch a cab from the pokey or wherever. I'm not trying to even touch that.

But Strachota's characterization of him as “nutty as a squirrel's hideaway” is way off base and I'm wondering (probably along with many others) if Strachota ever met or talked to him personally. When I first met him, at a bomb hip hop show years ago, he was as calm and down-to-earth as any artist I've met in my life. When I was working with a local indie distributor, City Hall Records, he, Kurt, and Automator came to my house in the Fillmore and played a rough demo of this “thing” called Dr. Octagon (Strachota claims it is what he's “best known for,” when the majority of hip hop heads I know cite Ultramagnetic MC's as one of the most influential groups in the history of rap … period!).

Anyway, Keith again was very chill, not spacey, perverted, or sleazy. A couple of years later, I flew to L.A. to meet him and Kurt regarding the Sex Style project, which my boss, Walter at City Hall, graciously granted a P&D deal for. That album, although slow at first, is in, like, its 10th pressing, and I can attest that when I worked at TRC Distribution (an affiliate of NuGruv Alliance, which reissued Sex Style), we could not keep the wax in stock!

So, what I'm sayin' is, Strachota seems to rip on Keith's work as “scatologically minded,” rude, and raunchy, but that's shallow and overlooks tracks on those same albums that deal with shysty labels/industry types, wack MCs, and those rappers out there who totally jack Keith's multiple styles, not personalities! (Not to mention KutMasta's sick beats, scratches, and hilarious samples!) The whole article could've been condensed to a paragraph.

Like I said, I'm not condoning what Keith did that night, but to dis him by saying “While such disregard for his fans may not be shocking, his listeners' continued allegiance is” it gives the impression that Strachota can't stand his music or “lewdness.” (Is he repressing his own sexuality, angry at Keith's sometimes misogynistic nature, or just trying to patrol the lyrical content of rap music?) Either way, chill meng, it's not that serious. As we both know, Keith has paid his dues and given birth to more styles and excellent rap than the majority of watered-down MCs flooding the market! If Strachota thinks he's hard-core, he should go peep a Necro album, early Gravediggaz, some of Sactown's Brotha Lynch Hung or Esham aka Natas.

I wonder if Keith was on time for his Latin Quarter, Polo Ground, or Soundview/Bronx River shows in the late '80s?! C'mon, Danny boy, respect due!

Buddha Bob Reichley

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