Readers respond to RNC Protest Coverage

Throw the bums out

I am sick and tired of reading about how many journalists were arrested during the RNC convention ("Arrested Development," 9/10/08). Whether it was one or a thousand, it is an attack on the First Amendment. We don't need to know whether they were Fox News automata or Al Jazeera brown people—what we need to know is how to put a stop to it! Other than donating to the National Lawyers Guild, the American Civil Liberties Union, and voting against Mayor Coleman and Judge Mark Wernick (who refused to grant an emergency motion asking for "injunctive relief to prevent police from seizing video equipment and cellular phones used to document their conduct"), what else can we do?

Alfredo Lorente Minneapolis

How to fight back

I found the article "Dozens of journalists arrested at RNC" to be very eye-opening. I was also arrested on Thursday, 9/4, but at 12th and Cedar. My friends and family didn't believe that I was just being a "peaceful protester" and think that I must have done something to deserve being arrested. After passing around your article, people started believing that I was completely innocent. The only reason I was taken into custody was because there were way too many "frat boy (or girl) rejects" that wanted to take out their aggression on peaceful, law-abiding individuals. I found a group that has put together a court solidarity plan trying to help those who were arrested. Since going to two of their meetings I feel much better about what I've been going through after being arrested. I was hoping that their website could be printed in your paper, as I'm assuming there are quite a few arrestees out there who read City Pages. Even if not interested in court solidarity, it's a place to connect with others and talk about what happened that godawful week. Coldsnap Legal Collective can be reached at:

Angie Via internet

Bait and switch journalism

"DID YOU HEAR THE REPUBLICANS ARE BUILDING A SMOKING SECTION AT THE XCEL CENTER?" Well, no. Not until you said so ("Smoke-Filled Room," 8/27/08), and then—10 paragraphs later—explained that there is no smoking room. So your goal was to...what? Make the GOP look bad by creating and dispelling a rumor in a single article? As if there aren't enough true stories for that. I suggest Bradley Campbell give up journalism and look for a job in the tabloid industry, where they let you waste all the paper you want.

Thirty Harry Minneapolis

No more Tom Tomorrows

I don't know what City Pages pays for Tom Tomorrow's "comic" This Modern World, I imagine not very much, but it is not worth the price, however low. Tom Tomorrow consistently proves the stereotype within the comics world that (with few exceptions like Pat Oliphant) editorial cartooning is the least creative form of comics art and attracts its lowest and least intelligent practitioners. I think that anyone smart enough to read who cares about politics already knows what the DNC talking points of last week were without having a poorly drawn, two-dimensional penguin regurgitate them. Tom Tomorrow's comic is consistently witless, hectoring, and insulting in tone to anyone who doesn't march in rigid lockstep with mainstream "good ol' boy" Democratic leftism.

Sandez Rey Via email

No vaccine for autism ignorance

Letter writer Heather O'Brien would do well to actually do some research herself before repeating the preposterous claim that childhood vaccinations cause autism or slandering a nonprofit public health group (Letters to the Editor, 9/10/08 in response to Bradley Campbell's article). This "vaccines cause autism" claim has been repeatedly debunked over the last decade, and despite the fact that vaccination uptake rates have actually dropped among some groups due to this scaremongering, autism diagnosis rates are not going down at all.

O'Brien identifies "mercury-containing" flu vaccines as the cause of autism. Presumably she is referring to thimerosal, an innocuous preservative that has been identified as a cause of autism by the infectious-disease proponents since the mid-'90s. And yet autism rates have continued to increase since 2001, when thimerosal was removed from all routine childhood vaccinations to assuage the fears of parents. So now she blames a flu vaccine that only 30 percent of pregnant women receive? Her fellow travelers have been changing their tune every time a pet theory is debunked. First it was the MMR vaccine. Then Japan stopped using that vaccine entirely, and autism rates in that country continued to increase. Then the cause was supposedly thimerosal, until it was removed from childhood vaccinations and autism rates continued to increase. Now the infectious-disease proponents are either identifying the vaccine schedule or the aluminum in vaccines as a cause. I imagine once those have also been shown to be ludicrous they will move on to something else.

Childhood vaccinations were one of the most important advances in public health in the last century. Anyone who would like a glimpse into the world before routine vaccinations should ask an older relative or friend about avoiding the public pool during polio outbreaks, or visit an old cemetery and count the infant headstones. The only thing confusing about vaccines is why someone would want to return to that level of infant and child mortality.

Natalie Martin Minneapolis

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