PUTTING THE "BUD" IN BUDGET
TO THE WORLD VIA BLOG TOWN, USA!: [Join Portland's smartest and savviest at Blog Town USA as they discuss everything from politics to gossip to liquor in the Mercury's online chat party! Here's a modest proposal from "The Judge" entitled, "Downtown Shootings & Budget Woes Solved with Marijuana?"]

Imagine if those shooters were smoking some good bud instead of drinking. Would those shootings have happened? Probably not. Marijuana makes a person mellow, docile, and a bit paranoid.

Problem #1: Drunken violence could be reduced by legalizing marijuana.

Enterprising young men lurking in parks have no problem getting $600 per ounce for average-quality marijuana. Think a crop like that could help solve Oregon and Portland's budget problems? Imagine if you could sell spinach or potatoes for a few hundred dollars per ounce. The state could regulate marijuana like alcohol, sell it at a fair price, which would include tax (perhaps $300 per ounce for high quality) and be rolling in money.

Problem #2: Early releases for inmates, health care for the poor, reduction in police staff, school budget shortfalls, etc. could be solved by legalizing and taxing marijuana sales.

Why is there no mainstream media outcry for this obvious solution? Stoners get stoned now ANYWAY.

The Judge

HOT DRUNK STRIPPERS
TO THE EDITOR: The Mercury's a great rag, and the Best of Estacada articles [Aug 11] were flippin' hilarious, but I am shocked—shocked—that two incredible stories were somehow missed by your team of crack reporters.

(1) O.J. Simpson was fined $25,000 for stealing cable on July 27th! Ann Romano, why have you forsaken me? (2)  You covered the fire at the Magic Gardens strip club back in May, but didn't mention the much larger fire last month at Soobies, out on 122nd. Too close to Gresham? But wait... there's more—the lingerie modeling shop Baby Dolls on Barbur burned down just two weeks later! That's three in a row—is it a team of religious nuts handing out god's wrath? Or are drunk strippers simply a fire hazard we should all avoid? 

Barry Hawkey

YOU DON'T KNOW VOODOO
TO WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY: Regarding your review of Skeleton Key [Film, Aug 11]. The review was typical Wm. Hump—goofy shtick and fairly accurate. However, it surprised me you would buy into Hollywood's version of Voodoo. As if it's a pretend spooky thing like a vampire or dead little Japanese girl who lives in a well.

You compared it to Scientology and wrote "no one believes in voodoo anymore." It is still being practiced all over the world, even right here in the good ol' USA. Voodoo is a derivative of the world's oldest known religions, which have been around in Africa since the beginning of human civilization. That's even before Mormons—who are really creepy!

Sarah C.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH PORN?
TO THE EDITOR: I take issue with a couple of the letters in last week's Mercury ["Letters," Aug 11]. First: "KARMA HATES TAGGERS" from Matt D. Excuse me, but... WTF?? The kid tagged a building, caused minor property damage and you think its okay he got the shit beat out of him and then run over? Sure, graffiti isn't nice, but the kid is in the hospital!

Second: "THANKS, NOSTRADAMUS" from One Angry Girl [who says the Mercury is helping Portland become "the epicenter of porn"]. What, pray tell, is so bad about porn? Yes, it objectifies the women (and men) involved, but so do movies, magazine spreads, advertisements, etc.. The Mona Lisa is just as much an object as Jenna Jameson.

Fierce abhorrence of porn generally stems from feelings of insecurity or a disgust of sex. You're afraid you will never measure up to porn stars (you won't—neither will I) and that potential partners will hold that against you (they won't); or you think sex is dirty (it is); and something to be ashamed of (it isn't). There's no way you would catch me in a porn, but just because something isn't right for me, doesn't mean it's wrong for everyone.

Mary

PREACH ON, MARY! And while you do, please enjoy being the winner of the Mercury "Letter of the Week!" You'll be receiving two tickets to the Laurelhurst, two passes to see Lyrics Born at Berbati's on Sept. 17, and a $30 dinner at No Fish! Go Fish! (who have excellent taste in both food and porn).