DEAR MERCURY: Contrary to your report from last week's protest at the Dick Cheney fundraiser ["News," July 29, Phil Busse], there was no "Free Speech Corral," nor was there a "free speech area" set aside for protestors. Such phrases were accurate for last January's visit by Cheney when protestors were enclosed on three sides by eight-foot, barbed wire topped chain link fence.

William Seaman

PHIL BUSSE RESPONDS: Albeit sickly ironic, the term "Free Speech Zone" is the colloquial--if not official--name given to the spaces where the Secret Service has insisted protesters stand and voice their dissenting opinions. It has become a common--and unfortunately widely accepted--practice to set up an area far from the president and vice-president's appearances.


TO THE MERCURY: You really missed the mark with your Sex Issue [Actually entitled, "Sex Sells! Our Commercially Viable Sex Issue" July 22]. Getting paid to rub your cunt against a pole isn't "sex" in any sense of the word. Watching corporate-produced videos on a computer screen or television set is not "sex" either.

Almost everything in your "sex" issue isn't really about sex, it's about licking your advertisers' assholes. Your articles were more about selling sex as a profit-making commodity than about actual, real, honest-to-God SEX.

I hope one day you really do produce a genuine Sex Issue--but stripper schools and videotaped prostitution are not a part of most people's lovemaking fun, and they're not SEX.



TO THE EDITOR: Every time I open the Mercury, I give thanks that Phil Busse isn't my garbage man, let alone my mayor.

In his latest demonstration of half-assed incompetence [News, July 29], Busse describes Ralph Nader's second convention attempt and tries to pin the blame on the Democrats. Says Phil: "Under election rules, after the requisite number of eligible voters show up, election officials must close the doors and begin petition signing. By crowding out legitimate Nader supporters, Democrats hoped to keep the 2000 election year spoiler off the ballot."

There's a word for that sort of reporting and the word is "bullshit." A convention can include far more than the "requisite number of eligible voters," and the organizers of this particular convention delayed the start by half an hour, hoping desperately that more people would show up. In the end, it was officials from the Nader campaign--not the state elections division--who made the crucial decision about when to close the doors and get started.

So put the blame where it belongs: Ralph Nader failed in his attempt to find 1,000 fawning acolytes and the Democrats did nothing at all that affected the outcome. Hopefully Phil Busse will someday abandon politics and writing and pursue his true calling as a pizza delivery guy.

Phil Phatigued in SE PDX


TO THE EDITOR: Enough already! It is seriously disappointing that so much scrutiny and attention is being paid to Michael Moore [Every letters section for the last four weeks].

For fuck sake, the man is an entertainer, a goddamned comedian--that is his primary function. Besides being funny, he is also an activist with a leftist agenda. But only a chump of the pettiest order would waste their time calling out Michael Moore for being biased. The challenge involved in questioning Moore's objectivity is like accusing Bill O'Reilly of being conservative, or curb stomping a puppy.

Perhaps the most pitiful thing of all is that Fahrenheit 9/11 is not serving the purpose it should--as a stepping-stone. His work should lead both followers and skeptics to seek out the work of genuine authorities on these topics.

There is a small army of well read intellectuals and investigative journalists pioneering the front lines, gathering the facts and history about the relationship between the corporations, dynastic families, religious zealots, oil and media. When people see Moore's work, they should give it the laugh and thumbs up it deserves, and then move on to the likes of Zinn, Moyers, Chomsky or Greg Palast.

History books 50 years from now will not look kindly on the willfully ignorant Americans of today that had easy access to the facts about the brutally obvious corruption of the current administration. They will instead paint a regrettable picture of a people who opted for a jingoistic opposition to awareness.

Jimmy C.

CONGRATS TO JIMMY C. for winning the Mercury "Letter of the Week!" Jimmy will use his mighty intellect to deconstruct a free movie at the Laurelhurst Theater, as well as Dead Moon on August 19 at the Ash Street Saloon!