Letters to the Editor

Shoddy journalism in George W. Bush case? Plus: Blaming Apple for geological events; "Law & Order" spin-off's salacious camerawork.

Topics: George W. Bush, Microsoft, Apple, Nuclear Weapons, Joe Conason, Auto Industry


Book: Bush was arrested for cocaine in 1972

BY SALON STAFF

(10/19/99)

and

Publisher halts George W. Bush bio
BY DARYL LINDSEY

(10/22/99)

As much as I would like to believe this story, simple cultural history would seem to contradict it. Why would such an obviously conventional thinker, social conformist, fraternity member yearning for acceptance and approval, use a drug in 1972 which would not become conventional, social or fraternal until the disco era of the late-’70s/early-’80s? Could these cocaine rumors, desperately looking for a vessel, have been mistakenly placed in a vial of a punitive “community service” which actually has another account? I suspect so.

– L.J. Van den Berg

I am amazed that you would give such credence to
a book that bases all its information on speculation. I guess
Salon has now decided to put itself in a category with the
National Enquirer. The Harris County district attorney at that time was asked about
this supposed incident and emphatically stated that such an event never
happened. What is the investigative background of J.H.
Hatfield? It sounds like he is still writing science
fiction, except that now he is beginning to blur the lines of reality.

– Brad Hedges

George W. Bush may actually have done cocaine some 30 years ago, but you are
just going to have to do better than just say that “the author believes them
to be true.” This is irresponsible journalism. All the sources for the most controversial part of the book are anonymous? How convenient.

– David Partain

There appears to be something quite sinister about
the way any allegation that might taint Dubya’s campaign is so quickly
censored and suppressed. Strings were pulled to keep Dubya out of the
Vietnam War. Dubya denies it, end of story. When similar allegations
surfaced about Clinton, it lasted for months and months. The number of
stories linking Dubya with the white powdery stuff multiplies almost daily,
yet this book has been pulled from the shelves.



Whether this particular author has
written other books does not change the fact that the accusations clearly
ring true here. Investigate the charge, not the charger, please!

– Edward Klein

If it turns out to be true that J.H. Hatfield misrepresented himself,
expect the story to get far more attention from the corporate news media
than the little matters of Bush’s waffling on his past drug abuse, his
getting into the National Guard during the Vietnam War through favoritism,
his corrupt business dealings and his influence-peddling as Texas
governor. The spin will be that poor George is a victim of “sleaze.”

Born-again but still cocky George is going to “restore the dignity
of the presidency” when he strolls into office in his cool cowboy boots and opens
up the federal treasury so it can be raided by his corporate sponsors.
After all, didn’t he set things right by stiffening penalties for drug
abusers in Texas? He’s putting young people in prison for first-time
offenses because he just hates to see them make the same mistakes he “may
or may not” have made in his youth.

– Walter Risley

Columbus, Ohio

Let’s say the allegations are true. What does this say about the war on drugs? “We will haunt you for 25-plus years if you’ve ever indulged, especially if you’re a Republican.” Is this what the “war on drugs” has brought us? It’s a real shame that every generation of America has to have its
crucible, its scapegoating, its finger-pointing. America should be ashamed of itself.

– J. Hay

Atlanta

Same old worm in the Apple
BY MARK GIMEIN

(10/19/99)

I‘d love to say that Apple’s done a perfect (or even close to perfect)
job of delivering product on time and with no supply problems.
Alas, that isn’t always the case, as we all well know.

However, it is unfair to blame Apple for problems that are outside
of Apple’s control — such as Motorola’s problems with the G4 chip at 500 Mhz, and the earthquake that has hit Taiwan.

Apple has made many mistakes that are deserving of criticism,
but delays on iMacs and iBooks are out of Apple’s control, and
every computer maker has been hit hard by the same event.
Let’s play fair with Apple.

– Michael Overton

Lansing, Mich.

Apple is facing the typical computer supply problems it faces every time it
brings a new model to market. We saw the same occurrences with the first
G3s, with every Powerbook introduction and to some extent with the
original iMac roll out. Sure, the new G4s are in tight supply because Apple
was too ambitious, and yes the iBooks are hard to find because of the
earthquake in Taiwan and because it is a new product. None of these things
imply Apple is slipping back to its old ways. In fact, Apple’s old way of
business was to overproduce unwanted product, stuff the channel and then
write off unsold inventory. Hardly the same thing as having too much demand.

As for Apple shipping older, slower chips, that’s certainly inaccurate. The
facts: The 350mhz G4 has never been shipped by Apple; the G4 line is brand
new. How is this shipping older chips? It is true Apple left
the price alone and lowered processor speed, but it is also true the
company says it will honor pre-orders. At least Apple and Motorola
didn’t ship defective computers — now that really would have been a P.R.
nightmare.

– Pete Ottman

If Apple’s biggest problem is that they can’t manufacture fast enough to
keep up with demand, they’ve got a problem most people want. The G3s and
G4s are setting a standard in performance so high that Apple is actually
gaining market share from the PC slice of the pie. Let the giant PC makers demonstrate how to package and sell mediocrity; I look to Apple for new ideas and inspiration, not their distribution and stockage record.

– D.Sosnoski


Microsoft’s annual report: Made on Macintosh

BY SCOTT ROSENBERG
(10/12/99)

We had to chuckle at your recent item suggesting that Microsoft’s annual
report must have been created on a Macintosh because there were certain
Mac notations on the Word version of the report available on the Internet.

We’re always glad when people take an active interest in our software — and
even more glad when people write about the “magical traits of files saved
in Microsoft Word format” — but in this case, your item missed the point.
The Mac file notations in the online Word version of our annual report
don’t necessarily mean the document was created on a Mac. For what it’s worth, the Microsoft annual report was created in Word and Excel on Windows-based PCs. The report was then revised by our design firm, which uses both Mac and Windows machines. The Mac file information
merely indicates that the last time the Microsoft Word document was opened
or revised by the design firm, it was on a Mac.

Frankly, it’s hard to see what all the fuss is about. Microsoft has been
developing applications for the Mac for nearly 16 years. Many companies
use both Macs and Windows-based PCs. We’re proud to have more than 10
million Mac customers.

– Carla Lewis

Senior director, Investor Relations

Microsoft Corp.

Attack on the Net
BY ANDREW LEONARD

(10/19/99)

My husband and I are buying a car, and have been test-driving
various models. After test-driving a model that we
didn’t like and listening to the salesman bash the other cars we’d
mentioned, it was rather fun to pull out a sheaf of printouts and watch his
face fall. We first showed him that his price was too high, and that
third-party reviews rated the competing vehicles higher than the model
we were driving with him. Then we left.

– Heidi Schaub

Busted!
BY JOYCE MILLMAN
(10/18/99)

There are two especially distressing aspects to the “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” spin-off.
The first, which Joyce Millman hinted at, was the total abandonment of any
illusion of reality. “Law & Order” takes much of its interest from the
way it draws from real news stories, and from the semi-documentary, methodical treatment of the police procedural and the courtroom follow-through. The results of the cases are unpredictable,
sometimes in the same way that real life is unpredictable. The new show
has made a point of squandering this patina of reality for wacky
soap-opera whammies, such as having the off-duty homicide detective “stumble
across” a murder related to the case she’s working on.

But far more disturbing is the loving way the camera lingers on the
bruised and battered sex victims. There are people who pay good money
for those kinds of pictures, and they are displayed here in a way that
seems aimed at just that kind of person.

– Tim Jennings

Garageland
BY IRA ROBBINS
(10/19/99)

Reading this review brought back memories of seeing the Clash at so many
shows: the Palladium, Bonds, the Pier (during which a raging thunderstorm
erupted during an encore of “White Riot”) and a couple of years later at
Convention Hall in Asbury Park, where the fog outside made you think you were
appearing in a road version of the “Quadrophenia” movie.

It’s almost as difficult to impart the sheer energy of those concerts as it
is to mourn the sad end of the band itself. Robbins’ review did a great job of
that. I can’t wait to hear the album.

– Dino Tortu

New York


What’s more horrifying, HMOs or the alternative?

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

(10/21/99)

and


Give me an “oy!”

BY LANCE GOULD
(10/14/99)

I am fully aware that Jews were a force in the boxing world in the first
half of this century (you forgot to mention Maxie Rosenbloom). But
the fact that they have all but been knocked out of boxing
altogether up until recently is the “man bites dog” of this story.
That’s what makes Dangerous Dana Rosenblatt and, in the same vein, Shawn
Green and Goldberg and Lenny Krayzelburg so special. No one can be
prouder of Dangerous Dana Rosenblatt than I! Well, of course there’s
his mother. And his bubbe. OK, there’s a few more proud than I, but
you get the point.

As for the “anti-Semitic statements” I allegedly made, I like to think
of them more as humorous, self-deprecating remarks. You say “potato,” I
say “kishkes.” And as for “explor[ing] his definitions,” I fail to see
your point, landsman. One of the three Jews on Baseball’s All-Century
ballot (which I alluded to) is Rod Carew, who is a Panamanian black who
also happens to be Jewish. What am I missing here? If you mellow out,
I’d be happy to buy you a cream soda at Mendy’s.

– Lance Gould


Back to the eve of destruction?

BY JOE CONASON

(10/19/99)

I share Joe Conason’s fear of many more countries
possessing nuclear weapon capability, but it’s naive to think that
the treaty will put a stop to further nuclear weapon proliferation.

It doesn’t make much sense to weaken our bargaining positions when
dealing with countries whose main objectives are to augment their military.
Ronald Reagan’s policy towards the Soviet Union was a brilliant final
strike in a 50-year strategy of aggressively opposing Soviet threats. President
Kennedy skillfully handled the Soviets during the Cuban missile crisis, but he wouldn’t have been able to do so without the threat of our nuclear arsenal.
Always remember that you should always offer the dove of peace in one hand
while carrying a club in the other.

– Ted Perhanidis

One minor correction: South Africa did acquire nuclear weapons. It
dismantled them and disavowed them before the end of apartheid. The only
other nations to disavow nuclear weapons are Kazakhstan, Belarus and
Ukraine, which inherited their nuclear arms from the Soviet Union.

– Josh Pollack

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