Your Feb. 20 article "Where the 'Deaniacs' go now" failed to acknowledge the power of the news media to shape the public's perception of a candidate.
Dean was set up and knocked down by the media. When he spoke passionately, they called it "anger." When he broke a political taboo, they called it a "gaffe." When he remained optimistic, they called him "defiant."
Most primary voters never got past the headlines and sound bites to discover the real Howard Dean. The media have tremendous power in our political system. They have chosen the Democratic nominee, and I fear they will choose our next president as well.
Although the media have chosen to report that Dr. Dean is out of the presidential race, it should be noted that he has suspended actively campaigning only and is still on the remaining primary ballots. He will get my vote at the Idaho caucus. This Deaniac is not going anywhere.
Rather than voting for ex-candidate Dean, his supporters should join forces with the most progressive candidate still in the race, Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich, largely ignored by mainstream media, would benefit greatly from an infusion of Deaniac energy.
Regarding your Feb. 13 article "Was the Duck Hunt a Conflict of Interest": While the question of whether Justice Antonin Scalia should recuse himself is an important one, it is not the only question raised by the hunting trip.
By spending private time with one of the justices who is going to decide his case - access that the other party in the case did not have - Vice President Dick Cheney reprises the conduct that landed him in court to begin with: giving those with a stake in the outcome of a decision preferential access to government decisionmakers. This time, however, he arranged the private access for himself with one of the decisionmakers in his case.
While we will never know what was discussed between Justice Scalia and Mr. Cheney, the appearance of impropriety created by the trip demonstrates the importance of open government - something Cheney just doesn't seem to get.
Regarding your Feb. 19 article "Many Iranians flaunt their style": One point missed by most journalists covering Iran in the recent past is that the problem goes way beyond the cosmetic liberties allowed by the so-called "reformists" of that regime.
The 70 percent of Iran's population who are under 35 have turned their backs on the totality of the Islamic Republic of Iran's regime. They aspire to a secular democracy, something that is not possible in an Islamic theocracy - moderate or conservative.
Your Feb. 19 article "One step closer to hydrogen economy?" reports: "It would require at least 40 percent of the cropland in the US to produce enough ethanol to power the nation."
While this might strike some as an obstacle, it ought to be viewed as an attraction. It could mean full employment for farm families, many of whom have left farms in large numbers as agribusiness has taken over much of American farming. Economic revitalization of the heartland would follow full employment on American farms.
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