Madison, N.J.

Your October 1 issue is the best! I hoarded your magazines, with yellow markers on important statements, but it was difficult to keep them all, so with a heavy heart I disposed of them. But, and it’s a big but, I will keep your October 1 issue along with my first issue of Ms. magazine—cherished.



Spare Us!


Naomi Wolf should be ashamed of herself (don’t ask me how that could be managed) for forcing Katha Pollitt to devote a “Subject to Debate” column to Wolf’s new book. Wasn’t there something more important (if less entertaining) to write about? Am I the only one who had never heard of Wolf, or her vagina, before receiving your October 1 issue?



West Roxbury, Mass.

My vagina loves Katha Pollitt.



We Will, We Will Frack You


I was glad to read Nicholas Kusnetz’s “Fractivists Get Serious” [Oct. 1], about the 1,000 protesters gathered outside Governor Cuomo’s office to urge him to ban the drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing in the state of New York. Kusnetz says, “A decision by Cuomo to ban fracking would be momentous”—and, I would add, smart. We do not have such a principled executive here in Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Corbett has welcomed the drillers (and their generous campaign contributions) with open arms. He has ruined Pennsylvania, opening even our forests and parks to drilling. I hope Governor Cuomo will have the courage to declare a ban on fracking.



Bluff Point, N.Y.

I am blessed! I live overlooking beautiful Keuka Lake, one of the lower Finger Lakes, close to the Pennsylvania border. The water is so pure that I bathe in and drink it. I eat the fish, game and farm animals that depend on these pristine waters. I’ve also traveled to once-beautiful Pennsylvania and witnessed the rapacious plundering that a greedy governor and a reckless fracking industry have wreaked on its streams, rivers and woodlands.

Nicholas Kusnetz wonders whether the New York fractivists can muster enough determination and discipline to prevent our governor and the billionaire natural-gas industry from plundering our great state the way they have Pennsylvania and other poor states. New York has a well-established resistance group. There will be civil disobedience! I admire these fractivists for their great resolve and discipline. However, there are others like myself who have the same resolve but lack the discipline. I am not a fractivist. I’m a frackin’ wacko! I do not view fracking as something that might interrupt my lifestyle; I view it as a direct threat on my life! I am a 62-year-old marine Vietnam veteran. I’ve been shot at, blown up by a landmine, gassed, kicked, cut, pummeled, truncheoned, maced and incarcerated. I have survived stage-four cancer. The word “quit” is not in my vocabulary. I have several unique and useful skills, none of which involve singing “Kumbaya” while some jackbooted thug tows me away, bound with plastic tie wraps, to a paddy wagon. When they come here to poison me, they ought to think long and hard, pack a lunch and bring a flashlight, because it won’t be swift or easy. And I’m certainly not alone. My legacy will be that I was a responsible steward of this earth.



Joshua Tree, Calif.

New York’s fracking fracas rightly draws a lot of attention, but there are important developments on another front. California is on the cusp of an oil-fracking boom, but state officials don’t regulate or even track fracking. Our organization has documented fracking in nine California counties, and petroleum industry documents point to rapidly rising interest in the state’s shale oil. An estimated 14 billion barrels of frackable oil are buried in the Monterey shale formation, which lies below some of the nation’s most productive farmland and wildlife habitat.

Methane leaks from fracking pose big risks to the climate, but there’s an additional danger. Fracking pries open huge deposits of high-carbon fuel once beyond the reach of drilling. Fracking the Monterey shale—the largest US shale oil deposit—will light the fuse on a carbon bomb that will shatter our state’s efforts to fight global warming.

Several recent attempts by our legislature to regulate or at least track fracking were crushed by fierce lobbying by the oil industry and Halliburton, the world’s largest supplier of fracking fluid. California lawmakers must try again. Our climate, our water and our wildlife are all at risk if we don’t nip this fracking boom in the bud. Fracking should be banned.

KASSIE SIEGEL, director, Climate Law
Institute, Center for Biological Diversity


‘Free’ Speech Far From the RNC

Sarasota, Fla.

I enjoyed Rick Perlstein’s and JoAnn Wypijewski’s Republican National Convention coverage [Oct. 1]. As a protester for the three days, I was appalled/amused at the level of security. I saw it as a multi-model approach. We had the khaki-clad on horseback, bicycles and foot patrol, plus helicopters above our parade routes. The arena was blocked off by fences and gates, so protesters were limited to remote parks or empty lots. The Planned Parenthood rally, which featured the vagina-costumed Code Pink women, took place far away from the convention, but a squad of bicycling khaki-clad lads and ladies were there to protect us from who-knows-what.

The Voter Suppression march in Ybor City was exciting, but it was even farther from the action. The Doctors for Obamacare march was such a slog to its vacant lot that the doctors seemed in need of medical attention when they returned. My feeble attempt to cause a stir among the GOP stalwarts was to stand at an intersection near the fenced-off area and show my signs. That my taxpayer dollars paid for keeping me and my exercise of free speech distant from the eyes and ears of my intended audience is deeply offensive to my sense of being an American.



La Belle France Nukes Paradise

Margate, N.J.

In his review of In the Shadow of the General, by Sudhir Hazareesingh [“The Generalist,”Oct. 1], Thomas Meaney does not mention that after the Algerian revolution, de Gaulle moved all French nuclear testing to Polynésie française, (the “jewel in the crown” of French imperialism). The tests were on Fangataufa and Mururoa, where there were more than 120 nuclear explosions, almost half of them in the atmosphere, the rest under the lagoons of these atolls, so far away from Western civilization that no one seemed to notice, let alone care—until the Polynesian people sued the French government for causing cancer in this most beautiful part of our planet, and until France blew up Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand.