Letters

Contact us via voice mail at (714) 825-8432, or by e-mail: letters@ocweekly.com. Or write to Letters to the Editor, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Or fax: (714) 708-8410. Letters may be edited for clarity and length. All correspondence must include your home city or service provider and a daytime phone number.

MATHEWS IS A RED

Rather than trying to deflect criticism of his weird hit piece on Chris Cox by attacking me (Letters, May 19), Todd Mathews should just admit his attempt at humor didn't work. It wasn't funny and wasn't accurate. Instead, Todd digs himself in deeper, demonstrating again that his political bias prevents him from getting his facts straight.

Todd suggests that I "proposed giving the Chinese government U.S. missile technology." Just for the record, my original support for President Clinton's decision to permit U.S.-built satellites to be launched on Chinese rockets came only after guarantees were made that stringent safeguards would ensure no technology could possibly be transferred to the Chinese. Once I'd signed on, the Clinton administration simply ignored that promise. Through ignorance or design, the security standards were not enforced, and, worse, the Clinton administration did all it could to cover up the missile-technology transfer that was taking place. As soon as I discovered the deception, I not only pulled my support but also personally investigated the matter. The information I uncovered was later verified and included in the Cox Report.

The reason Clinton has gotten away with his numerous lies and betrayals is that too many members of the press are like Todd Mathews. They worship liberal/ Left politicians and refuse to hold them to any standard of accountability. Instead, they constantly take jabs at Republicans and never let the facts get in the way of a good bash.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher
Huntington Beach
Todd Mathews responds:It's just like Dana Rohrabacher to assume that I'm a liberal or a Leftist and not in fact a libertarian who's simply disgusted by the hog feeding that goes on regularly in government. The facts are these, as first reported by my colleagues Anthony Pignataro and R. Scott Moxley ("Cox, Dicks, No Balls," June 4, 1999): on March 10, 1994, in the House subcommittee on Economic Policy, Trade and Environment, Rohrabacher recorded a voice vote in favor of loosening restrictions on U.S. companies eager to sell military-related satellite and related technologies overseas, including to communist China. Specifically, the vote shifted jurisdiction over highly sensitive technology transfers from the State Department to the free-and-easy, if not downright incompetent, Commerce Department. Two months later, on May 18, Rohrabacher proved his first vote wasn't an aberration. He cast the same vote in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Rohrabacher's defense—that he got some sort of assurance from the Clinton administration—stands as its own indictment: What sort of idiot would believe anything Bill Clinton says? Bottom line, Dana: you fucked up. Accept responsibility for the fact that you and others like you—Democrats or Republicans, it makes no difference—pushed for a leaky system of technology transfers to the Chinese, and stop trying to red-bait people with whom you disagree.

INTER-OFFICE MEMO

Hey, Buddy. I don't see you around the office much, so I figured I'd write you a letter in hopes that you'd see it—as would the thousands who undoubtedly read your rabidly anti-Bruce Springsteen screed ("One Step up, Two Steps Back," May 19). Like all of your stuff, it was funny. It was well-written. And it was opinionated. But, man, was it off-target.

I can readily attest that taste is no prerequisite for a critic, but a little historical context never hurts. You focused your Springsteen-is-shit column on the fact that his albums since 1984 don't match up to his pre-Born in the USAperiod. That's true. But you should know as well as anyone that: (a) what has always made Springsteen "Springsteen" isn't his studio work but rather his live performances, and (b) this the first time he's toured with the E Street Band in more than 10 years. Those two facts should have led you to realize that this isn't an occasion to rip Springsteen for recorded output that hasn't been up-to-snuff for 15 years. It was a time to celebrate the return of a remarkably committed performer and his ferociously talented band, an ensemble that works its ass to the pelvic bone each and every time it hits the stage.

I saw Springsteen five times on this tour, and I walked away from each show feeling cleansed and empowered. In a time when so much pop culture is all about hype and image, Springsteen is a living, performing reminder that, in very rare exceptions, a concert can be as real and intense as a good fuck. In fact, much more fulfilling. And sure, anyone who needs a 52-year-old rocker to make them feel that way has more problems than a general dissatisfaction with the world as they perceive it, but screw it; I'll take transcendence any place I can get.

So, Buddy, I'm really sorry that you feel cheated that the Springsteen you once admired has, in your eyes, sold out and turned middle-of-the-road. That wasn't the guy I saw on May 22 at the Arrowhead Pond. This wasn't a greatest-hits tour or a tired revival. It was the return of a living legend, a guy capable with the right band—his—of transforming just another concert at just another big venue into a rapturous celebration of the power and the glory and the MINISTRY of rock & roll.

You really missed something special.

Your colleague in criticism,

Joel Beers
Theater critic
OC Weekly
two desks over
Buddy Seigal responds:Dear Joel: Nice to hear from you. I don't know who you're fucking these days, but she must be pretty lame in the sack. Respectfully, Buddy.

TALK AMONGST YOURSELVES

I would like to thank Nick Schou for reporting on Liberate Orange County's action for Fair Trade Certified coffee at Diedrich Coffee ("Working for Beans," May 26). However, there were some factual errors I would like to correct.

First, Liberate Orange County is not a Green Party splinter group, although some members of Liberate Orange County are Greens and some Greens took place in the Diedrich action.

Also, Diedrich has not yet agreed to carry Fair Trade Certified coffee. Our goal was to get Diedrich to take action to carry it. A few days before our planned protest, we heard that the Specialty Coffee Association of America, of which Diedrich is a member, decided to form a task force to promote and encourage its members to purchase Fair Trade Certified coffee and that Diedrich has been in dialogue with the task force and TransFairUSA, the organization that certifies Fair Trade coffee. It was therefore decided to wait and see the result of Diedrich's dialogue. Instead of having signs and chants, we educated customers about Fair Trade Certified coffee and encouraged them to ask Diedrich to carry it. In the two hours we were there, eight people helped hand out about 50 fliers to people who would have otherwise not known about Fair Trade coffee. If Diedrich doesn't agree to carry coffee that is Fair Trade Certified, we will be back with signs and chants.

Anyone who would like to learn more about Fair Trade Certified coffee or Liberate Orange County can contact us at liberateoc@hotmail.com.

Mira Ingram
Liberate Orange County
Fountain Valley
Nick Schou responds: Let's chalk up the errors to a misunderstanding, then. Mira Ingram is the person who told me (at the Diedrich rally) that Diedrich Coffee had already agreed to negotiate coffee purchases with TransFair. Also, when I walked up to the demonstrators, I asked, "You folks with the Green Party?" They said yes.

CAT FIGHT

I just read Victor D. Infante's article on the Santa Ana Shelter and was dismayed to say the least ("Santa Ana's Dirty Little Secret," May 19). I have been visiting the shelter for the past several weeks and found the staff to be caring and concerned. Of course there will be odors; after all, there are animals confined there. I have yet to slip in urine or feces, or even see any on the floors. The floor is often wet in spots, but that is due to the attendant constantly cleaning and hosing out the cages. He moves animals from one cage to another while doing so. Overcrowded? I have yet to see more than one dog to a cage unless they were small puppies and then only three. He [shelter owner Larry Day] is always hoping to see a dog adopted. Injured animals? Had your "reporter" taken the time to read the paperwork on the cages, he might have seen that some of those dogs had just come in. Maybe from being recently hit by a car or abandoned by their owner. I personally have seen several injured animals there as well; the paperwork on the cages were medical notes from a veterinarian noting condition and treatment.

I also question the professionalism and integrity of a "reporter" who uses the term "covered in shit"—poor command of the English language at best. My guess is he's a former National Enquirerreporter. He's great at painting a picture. It's just the wrong one.

Keith Underwood
Orange
Victor D. Infante responds: We got 11 letters thanking us for the article and two—Keith Underwood's and another from his same e-mail account—taking us to task for exposing awful conditions in Santa Ana's animal-control program. Underwood's gives me a chance to correct two errors in the article. First, it's the city animal control, not the county, that rarely orders veterinary care. Second—as Underwood correctly points out—the floors are not covered in urine and feces; they are extremely slippery because the cages are hosed. I regret the errors.

I plead guilty to believing it's a responsibility of civil society to protect animals, rather than to herd them through these subterranean hells for a quick dispatch. Otherwise, there's not one instance described in the article that I didn't both see with my own eyes and confirm with other people; in several cases, we have photographs of the actual animals.

Perhaps Underwood has been lucky enough to hit the shelter on good days, or perhaps—unlikely as it seems—I and the several other people I've spoken to have all repeatedly hit it on bad ones. Sorry that's not a nice story.

P.S. Drop the motherly harangue about other people's English usage; you'll go far in life.


NOPE, THAT'S PRETTY MUCH THE BEST ADJECTIVE FOR TITANIC

Maybe it's because I'm on the East Coast and no longer live in Southern California so my morals have changed, but I find it repulsive to find such language, normally reserved for behind-the-counter publications, in print within an over-the-counter news publication. To make matters worse, it is on the Web. I have a search engine set up to search news articles which contain the phrase "Titanic" as I am somewhat of a Titanic buff and like to read about new details regarding the subject. I am used to getting news articles related to James Cameron and other forms of entertainment-industry-related projects that involve the subject, but I can't say I have ever seen one that used the word "fuck." Until now. It is sad that news publications have been reduced to mind-numbing alley-cat trash talk.

Al Costa
via e-mail
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