DEAR EZRA: I just can't imagine that you write about hiphop and admit that you don't know who Cassidy is [Music, "Once More With Feeling," Oct 13]? That is like writing a political column and not knowing who Condoleezza Rice is. It makes you seem really GRINGO. I am writing this not out of spite but with sincere concern that anywhere else in the world you would get your ass kicked or at least fired for such a foolish blunder. Stop writing about things that don't concern you or Portland in general (i.e., issues involving the black community or hiphop).  You don't see XXL or Vibe covering Ani DiFranco's newest rant or Renée Zellweger's newest movie, so why would the Portland Mercury write about Lil' Kim or Cassidy? 

Oh yeah, it's ironic!

Nathan Rice


DEAR MERCURY: Yes, Ann M. Veneman may be a bitch, but she is no longer the Secretary of Agriculture [New Column, The Mercury Wonders, Oct 13]. She was replaced in January 2005 by former Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns, who, like Veneman, supports corporate agri-business and the biotechnology industry. (Veneman was on the board of Calgene, the first company to bring a genetically engineered crop to market, the Flavr Savr tomato.)

While governor, Johanns was the chairman of the Governor's Biotechnology Partnership, which promotes the unsustainable, unsafe, and untested science of genetic engineering—a process that enables scientists to cross the species barrier (imagine frog genes in your potatoes... yummy!).

Learn more about what's in your food by checking out Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering's website, www.nwrage.org.

Jennifer Polis, NW RAGE


DEAR MERCURY: A new report by the National Bureau of Economic Research challenges the anti-sweatshop position [Responding to a posting by Marjorie Skinner on Blog Town, USA (www.portlandmercury.com) in which she stands up for American Apparel and talks about her orange hipster-cut panties.] "When economists looked at reams of data on wages and workers' rights in developing countries, they found that multi-nationals generally paid more—often a lot more—than the wages offered by locally owned companies." The study cites evidence that affiliates of US multi-nationals "pay a wage premium that ranges from 40 percent in high-income countries to 100 percent—or double—in low-wage countries."

Hey stupid assholes! Remember when you heard that you should read all information surrounding a subject before you can make a standpoint valid? Or do you just take your stupid asses to American Apparel and make a statement with a purchase? Do you even understand economics? Or do you just hop on some bandwagon that slams everything because fear of not being cool is stronger than reality?



HELLO MERCURY: My name is Jack and I'm in a local punk rock band. Every time a punk show gets written up in the Up and Coming section of your paper it's a negative review. For years I used to get mad over this phenomenon, but yesterday after reading the exact same review given by you guys and the certainly out-of-touch Willamette Week I figured it out...

You don't have anyone on staff that understands or even LIKES punk music. The reviews always say the same thing, "this genre was dead by '78" or "you've heard it a million times, so who cares?"

Man, I'm young and furious and the soundtrack to my disillusionment is angry, drunk, loud, and fast. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it ain't, sometimes it's played by old tired bastards who need to hang it up, but dammit, I like it. All I'm saying is you should have someone on your staff that understands that there are a million kids out here who love it when some one stands up and says "I'm mad as fuck and I'm gonna yell about it for the next one minute and 12 seconds."


Jack Bastard

CONGRATS TO JACK for winning the Mercury "Letter of the Week." For setting us straight about punk "music," Jack wins two tickets to the Laurelhurst, two passes to the GZA hiphop show at Berbati's on Nov 12, and a $30 dinner at No Fish! Go Fish!