Why cocaine and not marijuana?

You guys should be embarrassed! In your May 16 editorial "The Marijuana Ruling," you wrote: "Theoretically, a medical rationale might be found for more addictive substances, like cocaine or heroin."

Cocaine is already legally prescribable by doctors and dentists as a Schedule II controlled substance and has been for many decades. The same thing with highly addictive opiates like morphine and codeine.

Why, you might ask, can cocaine be legally prescribed and not marijuana? Ask your federal government that question.

Patricia Schwarz Pasadena, Calif.

PBS no refuge from ads

In your May 4 article "PBS faces up to the competition," you state: "PBS doesn't interrupt its shows with commercials...."

This claim is simply false. As any regular viewer knows, PBS does in fact interrupt its longer programs - especially Ken Burns documentaries - with commercials. Incredibly, many of these annoying commercials are for PBS itself, or PBS programs, and are shown during commercial breaks that last longer than those on other networks.

During pledge weeks, the PBS program schedule is disrupted, and regular programming is replaced by infomercials and pledge specials designed with breaks for pitching - perhaps one reason conservative syndicated columnist Brent Bozell dubbed PBS "the Home Shopping Network for liberals."

Laurence Jarvik Washington

The roots of anger in Gaza

Your recent news stories of destruction in Gaza reminded me of a day in May 1993 when Rose, an Australian volunteer with the Near East Council of Churches, invited me to go with her to Gaza to deliver supplies to a school and a hospital. But first, Rose wanted to call on a family she knew in a refugee camp. When we arrived at the house, the door had been kicked in. Inside, the place was trashed. A woman was wielding a broom in fury. Two soldiers had kicked in the door while a third leaped over the roof into the tiny courtyard. In the tiny kitchen all the crockery had been dashed to the floor, a primus stove stamped out of shape, a bag of rice slashed open and drenched with kerosene, blankets shredded. The woman's daughter was dazedly picking up shards. A boy of about 2 sat on the floor, clutching a piece of bread and staring at us with huge bewildered eyes. I have often thought of that little boy. Today he would be about 10 years old. Is he among those throwing stones? Does he do it because Arafat or the iman "incite" him, or does he have his own reasons for anger?

Bernice L. Youtz Tacoma, Wash.

Busted logging dreams

Regarding your May 18 article, "Acerbic fervor among town's antigreens": The past 20 years have seen a logging boom that diminished the supply of standing timber all the way up North America's Pacific Coast, at aggressive and controversial levels, all the way from California, north through Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and southeastern Alaska. This boom also extended inland to the Rockies, including Montana.

Since 1980, tens of millions of acres of forest land have been cut. Twenty years have not been enough to restore the economic opportunities we had when the boom began. The upshot is heightened desperation for local loggers to get into what's left of a lesser forest.

Booms bring busts, and busted dreams bring anger. Now the long-predicted social tragedy comes on the heels of the ecological one, and we find some individuals willing to exploit the innocent with appeals to hate.

Lance Olsen Missoula, Mont.

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