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Letters to the Editor for 1-9-2002 

Pipe Dream; Abetting Bush; Bot Shots; Harpooned; Correction

Pipe Dream

Analogy of the week: The 1915 Austin pipe organ must be installed inside a reverberant, climate-controlled environment ("Organ Failure," Dec. 26, 2001, on plans to relocate a historic San Francisco organ outdoors in an Embarcadero park). The San Diego Austin was designed to be played outside. This one is not. A house cat has no claws to defend itself, the outside cat does. In the park in San Diego it's quiet, and the organ was designed from the beginning to be played thus. It has plenty of power (claws). The San Francisco organ is a house cat. It was designed with tonal beauty in mind, not brute power (no claws)!

Organ people know what they are talking about. Listen to them and do what they recommend.

Ron Severin

The writer has no bias against organs, though he doesn't really like cats: I must say that I strongly disagree with the article about this proposed addition to San Francisco's attractions. The Balboa Park organ in San Diego is a huge success, despite much worse sound problems (right under the flight path to Lindbergh Field) and facing opposition from other attractions in the park that do not appreciate the organ music (the Old Globe Theater, for example).

It seems to me that your writer had preconceived ideas and a definite bias. I assure you that everyone I have spoken to is most enthusiastic about the project.

Don Thompson
Inner Mission

Abetting Bush

Technically, Frances, it's our opinion being heard, but we're glad you agree: Thank you for putting into words what I have been thinking for quite some time ("Chump Changes," Matt Smith, Jan. 2, on how journalists' continuing insistence that everything has changed since Sept. 11 is aiding President Bush's agenda). It is quite comforting to know that there is someone in the media who realizes what is going on and is willing to challenge the establishment's version of events since Sept. 11. Please continue your excellent work. It is very important to a lot of us who feel that our opinions are not being heard.

Frances F. Bates
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Bot Shots

How'd you feel about the illustrations?: It is clear the author attempted to instill the notion that civil liberties are at risk by [National Security Agency] spybots on the Internet ("The Spybots Among Us," Dec. 19, 2001). How unfortunate that the author failed to make this believable by demonstrating a grasp of how malicious code behaves, as well as its limitations. Instead, the article relies on a thinly disguised contempt for authority as well as a penchant for science fiction. Cyberspace spying is nowhere near as easy as Peter Byrne would have us believe. Furthermore, why is it a surprise that a secretive government agency is in the spy business to begin with? This isn't the first time the NSA has been investigated, though this article is completely lacking any compelling information.

The author also attacks entrepreneurship on the Internet in the sidebar "Can You Stop the Bots?" Was it really necessary to disparage Gregor Freund, CEO of Zone Labs, who deserves better for being one of the few remaining bright spots in San Francisco's economy? Bottom line, Byrne fails to back up his boasts with technical insight.

Larz Sherer


We have a mole in our editorial meetings: Congratulations, Ms. Stewart, your rebuttal article about the Mitsubishi salt plant ("Hold on a Minute!," Jill Stewart, Dec. 12, 2001, an answer to critics of a story about a deceptive save-the-whales campaign to stop a proposed salt plant in Baja California) has all the hallmarks -- misleading, selective, biased, and specious -- to make you a potent candidate for Wise Use Babe of the Month.

The plan was to construct a 500,000-acre industrial salt plant next to a UNESCO World Heritage site and within a Mexican federally protected area in which industrial development is prohibited. So that would help the whales? Yeah, right.

Puh-leeze fuhgetaboudit and go on to the really good stuff, like proving global warming is bunk, nuclear power is clean and safe, and space aliens are using the U.N. to take over America. Sheesh!

Ed Mainland


In last week's Night & Day, a photograph incorrectly identified a Sketchfest comedy troupe. Pictured were Totally False People (left to right: Cole Stratton, Gabriel Diani, Janet Varney, and David Owen). SF Weekly regrets the error.


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