Web Letters | The Nation


HRC: Can't Get No Respect

There is a grain of fairly trivial truth here: Wealthy white women have as much right as their male counterparts to be self-seeking and unprincipled. Therefore, Code Pink should leave the identity politics to the predictably dull Pollitt and stick to the main point: Hillary is the Democratic Party's leading contender for President. She is an unrepentant enabler of Republican crimes. For purely practical reasons, it makes more sense to work against her than against other folks with both less complicity and less influence. Just as her gender doesn't warrant abuse, it also doesn't warrant a pass.

As ever, Pollitt's views on the status quo and the necessity to make every kind of concession to same are too cynical and decadent to warrant much discussion. I think it's safe to say, though, that if Hillary had enabled attacks on choice the way she has enabled the mass killing of dark foreigners, we wouldn't be suffering this particular lecture.

Mike Girard

Brooklyn, NY

Mar 12 2007 - 7:24pm

Who's Afraid of Gardasil?

The role of marketing of an intervention to a public health risk, and lobbying of government officials in particular is what so offends. I do not see this vaccination program as a priority of organizations of public health professionals.The article does not take up alternative expenditures on public health measures. Gardasil is so interesting not because it may prevent a sexually transmitted disease, but because the vaccination program, aimed as it is to those who are not at much risk of contracting the HPV, has small short-term benefits, compared to public health measures which would immunize against diseases that are likely to be contracted by the individual in the near future. Delaying this immunization program until competing products and competing claims on public funding have a chance to appear and be considered will result in very little additional lifetime morbidity or mortality. What such delays will do to the bottom line of the manufacturer are something else again.

Harry Travis

Washington, DC

Mar 12 2007 - 2:37pm

Bloggers on the Trail

I know it's Ari Melber's job to cheerlead for the putative shot in the arm the "netizens" are supposed to give the body politic, but I got little more than amusement from "Bloggers on the Trail." Until recently, I lived for 25 years in San Francisco, where that Wired magazine hand-jive that the net (and by extension anyone younger than a Baby-Boomer) will change politics is standard latte-drinking fare; it hasn't happened and anyone with a cerebral cortex can see it won't. Anyone save a blogster, that is.

Which brings on point two. What was John Edwards thinking? I've read Pandagon somewhat regularly for about two years now and Amanda Marcotte's entire stock in trade is a blend of the most sophomoric strain of feminism and contempt for religion, especially Christianity, that would be interesting if she had the intellect and stylistic panache of a Christopher Hitchens. Her posts are the cyberspace equivalent of the sorrow tree, proof that there is always someone worse off than oneself.

As someone who voted for Nader three times, I'm sorry Edwards didn't sustain more egg on the face. I guess I'll have to content myself with the thought of Marcotte apologizing for what got her noticed in the first place, proving that with mainstream liberals, gravy trumps guts every time.

Douglas Presler

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Mar 12 2007 - 12:08pm

Conscience and the War

Dr. Cohen implies that the Liberation of Iraq from a lunatic despot bent on acquiring WMD inspired "legions of anti-American terrorists where there were few." What legions? American and Iraqi troops are fighting a small cadre of terrorists and dealing with the pent up ethnic strife Liberation was sure to bring. This strife is not unlike the turmoil the Balkans endured following the break-up of the Soviet Union. Cohen, by mandating America's capitulation to terrorism, denies freedom to legions of innocents.

Unfortunately it is impossible to quantify the hordes of would be terrorists dissuaded by American might and resolve and the deterrence gained by Sadaam’s demise.

One cannot wish evil away; one must fight it. This is a generational World War. There will be vicissitudes. Dr. Cohen must take a deep breath, a long view to preserve his cherished freedoms

William Reis

West Bloomfield, Michigan

Mar 12 2007 - 6:51am

What Has Been Concluded Lately by People Discussing Dick Cheney on the Public Airwaves and the Floor of the Senate

Not crazy, but evil on a level I have not seen since the first Star Wars Movie.

Grover Watson

Denver, CO

Mar 11 2007 - 9:35pm

Scooter Libby's Doomed Defense


I just wanted to let you know that PardonLibby.org is for sale on eBay. The auction is here:


Buff Josh

Chicago, Illinois

Mar 11 2007 - 7:42pm

Cheney on Trial

The entire regime is crumbling! The Impeachment Train left the station and Pelosi/Conyers should either grab a strap or clear the platform.

Here's an excerpt from my soon to be #1 hit song:Impeach

So make yourself a resolutionProtect and defend our constitutionIt’s the patriotic and the democratic wayLet’s impeach old George and all his croniesLoad up all his jesters and his one trick poniesPut em all in a FEMA trailerGulf coast USA

Tom Chelston

Cranford, New Jersey

Mar 11 2007 - 8:04am

The Care Crisis

Wonderful article! But I wished it had talked more about what I see as the major reason Europe has good work-life policies and we don't: Europe bargains its work arrangements collectively, while here in the U.S. we all compete as individuals against each other trying to show we're the "ideal worker."

For the past two years, I've presented a session at the Living Green Expo in the Twin Cities about how our long-hours culture is an environmental issue, a social justice issue, and an issue that affects so many other progressive issues.

In that workshop I've talked at length about how collective action in Europe has brought them shorter workweeks, longer vacations, and better family leave. At the end of last year's workshop, a young woman who appeared to be in her twenties raised her hand in the Q-and-A and said this all made sense to her, but then asked "What can I do as an individual about this?" As an individual. Sigh. I felt like beating my head against the nearest pillar. But I tried to be respectful as I replied that she has lots of company in her generation and that if all of us acted together, we could change things.

Robert Putnam writes in his book Bowling Alone that when it comes to "joining a union," young people may not so much resist the idea of "unions" as the idea of "joining."

Please, if you are a young person who identifies with this article, join something! Find a candidate you can volunteer for or donate to who works on these issues. (They're out there, and they need your support.) Or join Moms Rising (www.momsrising.org). Read Ann Crittenden, Arlie Hochschild, and Joan Williams. Read Ellen Galinsky, Jody Heymann, and Jodie Levin-Epstein. Get informed, get active, and get connected.

The idea that our only avenue for action is as individual consumers is propaganda we've been fed by the right wing since the Reagan years. We can do together what we can't do alone. Indeed, that's the only way we're going to get it done. Treating this as an individual's issue, or an individual family's issue, leads us nowhere.

Anne Nolan

St. Cloud, Minnesota

Mar 10 2007 - 10:35pm

Putting Science in the Dock

If Daubert was meant to screen out pseudo-science, that's not what is happening.

Apparently, within the realm of legitimate scientific research, judges are deciding whether a study's methodology is good enough, and how the scientific literature should be interpreted. A judge should not be be expected to make such decisions.

As an epidemiologist, I know that weighing the overall evidence in the scientific literature is not easy, and the results are not generally neat and clear-cut. As for individual studies, every single one has methodologic weaknesses, often unavoidable.

The question is, in what way do these specific weaknesses limit the conclusions that can be drawn from the study? This depends on the context (the study as a whole.)Answering it requires specialized knowledge, and experience in critically evaluating such studies.

Having a judge make these decisions is like having me, without a single course in law under my belt, rule on some specialized and subtle legal matter.

Philip D. Somervell, Ph.D.

Anchorage, Alaska

Mar 10 2007 - 4:11pm

Thelma and Louise Imperialism

If the President and Vice-President want to invade Iran, give them both a rifle and ammunition and wave them goodbye. Make sure nobody else has to suffer for their decisions.

Ruth Conway

Perth, Australia

Mar 10 2007 - 4:56am