So Much for This Magazine


That dangerous-looking weapon on the cover of the Aug. 29/Sept. 5 issue isn’t too dangerous. It has no magazine.
Dallas Smith
cookeville, tenn.

The Nation Replies


So much the better!
Sarah Leonard
Senior Editor

new york city

The Panic Boom


After reading Patrick Blanchfield’s “A Weekend in Condition Yellow” [Aug. 29/Sept. 5], I wish I had the op­­tion of moving to another country—or planet. The NRA, in my opinion, is a wicked, wicked organization.

There was recently a shooting at a hospital near where I live. A patient and nurse were murdered. Now, whenever one visits any of our local hospitals, it’s as bad as going to any airport. The security is intense. Apparently, the solution is more guns. How ridiculous is that?
Robert Dobos
melbourne, fla.


Redoing the House—and Senate


Here in Washington State, where Bernie Sanders took 72 percent of the vote, we’re working on a plan. Many of us have joined Brand New Congress, which D.D. Guttenplan discusses in “Clean Sweep” [Aug. 29/Sept. 5]. We are currently building our network with like-minded supporters. We are also coming up on our legislative-district reorganizations at the end of the year, and we plan to be a strong voice.

Many of us want to reach across the state to other legislative districts and unite in our effort to reclaim the party from the neoliberals, “New Democrats,” or whatever their new iteration is after the “demise” of the Democratic Leadership Council.

Each legislative district has a platform, and many are similar. We can unite on resolutions, censures, and admonishments. If we can reach out to voters through our network of precinct-committee officers, we can put forth referendums and initiatives. We need to push our own agenda forward.

The goal is to empower our voters, which Bernie proved is possible. As long as we remain divided, we are the “rabble” that can be ignored. But uniting in solidarity (as the unions proved is possible) turns us into a force to be recognized—and reckoned with.

We have only just begun.

Diana McGinness

As an over-60 progressive, I am looking forward to any shift away from the corrupt Democratic National Committee toward a movement based on issues—not on name brands. Coming from the infamous conservative “T” of Pennsylvania, I would support any Republican who was indeed progressive, and if candidates from conservative districts could be found that support our issues, then I’m all for it. However, I suspect that those two terms, “Republican” and “progressive,” don’t apply to any politician in our nation, let alone in my area. But we need a movement away from the parties that have paralyzed this nation. So I will follow and support the Brand New Congress movement in hopes that it is as transcendent as it promises to be.
Steven E. Myers

The problem with the notion that the Democratic Party is the only option and that progressives need to take it over is simple: It’s a fantasy embraced and perpetuated by the Democratic establishment. It is meant to—and has been successful at—keeping a large percentage of progressives trapped in the party.

As much as I love Bernie, and as close as it appeared he came to breaking the chain, it was never going to happen. It was a valiant attempt, made possible only because he’s the real thing, with a long history to prove it—someone who resonated with the forgotten in the Democratic Party and, more importantly, with the progressives outside the party and with unaffiliated youth. We need an outside party that isn’t encumbered by the Democrats’ unsavory baggage. Bernie didn’t invent the progressive movement, and neither did the Democrats. The most formidable challenge that a progressive has ever posed to the ruling hierarchy of the Democratic Party came from an independent (pretending to be a Democrat) that they couldn’t shut up.

Michael Poprawa


Teach Your Children Well


Sasha Abramsky’s “Fear Industry Goes Back to School” [Aug. 29/Sept. 5] calls out those who capitalize on the fear of school violence. As a former teacher in both a suburban and an urban school setting, I strongly suggest that the best deterrent to violence in schools is to educate our children and involve the community. We need to hire more teachers and assistants, counsellors, and specialists; update the curriculum to include the arts; and revitalize the good old PTA. Also: Cut class sizes, end the core curriculum, eliminate excess testing, buy more books, ban phones during school hours, and schedule more recess. In other words, we need to turn back the clock to the Kennedy-Johnson era, when the United States ranked first in the world in almost every area of education—but with one major change: Schedule kids’ hours from 9 to 5 to accommodate a new lifestyle in which both parents work.
Sandra Weld

A Real Puzzle


Is the grid for puzzle #3406 in the Sept. 12/19 issue wrong? It seems there aren’t enough blocks in several places. Or am I crazy?
Sandy Miley
sherrill, n.y.

The Nation Replies


This one hinges on a gimmick (hinted at in one of the clues) so that you only need just that many squares to fill in the correct answers you are no doubt thinking of. It is a common enough kind of thing in the Thursday New York Times crossword, but this is the first time Joshua Kosman and Henri Picciotto have done it here.

Using a symbol (the same one each time) in one of the squares—or, alternately, putting more than one letter in that square—will enable you to fit in the answers. To say any more would give away the game.

Sandy McCroskey
Web Copy Editor/Producer
Crossword Puzzle Editor


new york city


Corrections


Rafia Zakaria’s “Whose Stories?” [Sept. 12/19] described a pregnant teenager featured on the cover of Time as Sudanese. She is South Sudanese.

Richard White’s “Rather a Hell Than a Home” [Sept. 12/19] stated that Modoc war leader Kintpuash held off American soldiers and militia in a siege at Mount Lassen. The siege was near what is today California’s Lava Beds National Monument.