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Former 'Star' Staffer: Photo- Doctoring Allegations Stupid

Your Media Watch column on photo doctoring at the Arizona Daily Star is so stupid and knee-jerk that you deserve a backlash ("Citizen Photog Accuses Star of Hypocrisy," Aug. 24).

As a former Star staffer, I can tell you there is no way a photographer has time after a boxing bout to doctor the image before publication. Second, the assumption that the Star photog (unnamed?) would give two shits about having the Citizen photog in the frame is insane.

Clearly, by looking at the image, you can see how the turnbuckle and the boxer's body blocks the view of the Citizen photog. The Citizen shot shows the photog is on the right of the buckle.

Printing that column and attempting to tarnish the Star staff is reprehensible. Go back to telling us who is taking over the traffic report on the local radio stations.

Rich Boudet, The Seattle Times

HIV Educator: Comments Like Danehy's Help Spread HIV

Oh, Tom ... I was just sitting down to relax, and I read your article (Danehy, Aug. 31), which woke me right up!

I cannot even begin to recount the ways in which your simplistic approach to HIV prevention is flawed, but I can perhaps paint a picture by an analogy following the same "logic": People wouldn't kill people drinking and driving if they didn't drink and drive; there would not be crime if people stopped stealing; there would not be poverty if everyone would work; there would not be HIV if everyone would use a condom (including married women who do not know their husbands are cheating on them); there would not be rape if people could just control their angry pathology. And I thought the answers were so much more complex!

Tom, you are the reason there is still HIV, because you don't seem to understand it isn't always about the sex--it's about the context. Economics, gender, access to resources, religion and cultural barriers may play a role in whether or not someone can protect themselves. But it is easier to just dole out judgment instead of compassion, and to provide sensationalistic rag fodder.

Your article has shown me that I must not rest, because there is still so much work to be done. I will have to go tell all the people who don't know their status to not be afraid to get tested. Gotta go--much work to do!

Mary Specio

Hurricanes Aren't a Sign of Global Warming

With regard to your article "Memory of the Flood" (Aug. 24): Hurricanes are one of the weakest footings to support the argument of global warming.

The purpose of this letter is not to dispute global warming, which has been well-documented to be occurring, nor to dispute the cause of global warming, which is still a matter of debate. You think not? Probably because of the documented rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide during the era of increasing average temperatures. But didn't you know that during this same era that sunspots have increased by about the same proportion? If it seems logical to draw a cause and effect relationship between carbon dioxide and global warming, why not sunspots and global warming?

Hurricane data readily available at www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastdec.shtml clearly show that hurricane seasons have been much worse in the past, from a steady downward trend of 24 strikes per decade in 1941-1950 to 14 strikes per decade in 1991-2000. Sure, 2005 is a record year on a number of counts. But one record year is hardly something for conclusions to be drawn from.

Gerald Steele

Tucson Greyhound Park Should Aid Greyhounds By Closing

I'm writing regarding the ad in your Aug. 24 issue on Page 14 for the Tucson Greyhound Park's Texas Hold 'Em tournament that says it will benefit Southern Arizona greyhound-adoption groups.

Frankly, I can think of many ways they could better benefit the dogs, such as shutting down, fixing broken legs on dogs promptly instead of making them sit untreated for weeks and not making them race when it's 105 degrees, pouring rain or during a windstorm. Let's end the tradition of making these dogs run for their very lives.

As a longtime Tucson resident and greyhound adopter, I find the timing of this urge to do public relations by Tucson Greyhound Park very interesting in light of the fact that they are under investigation for the disappearance of 100-200 greyhounds. It would be better for them to come clean and tell us where the dogs are.

I would also like to urge others who are concerned about the missing greyhounds to write to the Arizona Department of Racing at

ador@azracing.gov and ask them the status of the investigation and ask them to please keep the investigation moving forward.

Carol A. Mitchell

Complainer: Japanese Imperial Flag Is Definitely Offensive

Beth Prosnitz's account of my concerns ("Suspect Symbol," Currents, Aug. 31) is reasonably accurate. However, I believe a few clarifications would be useful.

Americans, as implied by Professor Michael Schaller, are much more prone to let bygones be bygones than more long-lived traditional societies.

The imperial war flag led Japanese troops from the 1931 invasion of Manchuria to the surrender aboard the USS Missouri in 1945. Pearl Harbor, the Bataan Death March, the prior Rape of Nanking, the Singapore massacre of civilians and medical experiments in Manchuria on American POWs revealed a warrior culture at odds with American experience and practices, and one in sync with practices of Japan's partner, Nazi Germany.

To get to the point: Shortly after World War II, the Japanese government banned the use of the imperial war flag because of its identification with some of the worst excesses and atrocities perpetrated in the Pacific Theater. Many, if not most, Japanese accepted this decision. However, a not-inconsequential part of the population did not. Rallies and parades of truckloads of militants waving the imperial war flag and demanding the overthrow of the postwar constitution continued at least through my stay in Japan, 1980-84. Unlike in Germany, influential segments of Japan's body politic--including leaders of the governing party--have never accepted the origins or the outcome of World War II, i.e., they assert Japan was the victim, not the aggressor.

This latest political maneuvering is intended to simultaneously restore veneration for World War II leaders and rewrite history books on the war. The imperial war flag is being utilized as one tool by the far-right militants. The ongoing dispute does not paint the benign picture with which we have comfortably lived these many years.

Legitimizing through commercial use in the United States a symbol already banned in its home country because of atrocities committed in its wake is even more difficult to understand. The name, Nippon Motor Service, makes it abundantly clear where the firm aims its services without relying on a discredited image.

Accusations that I alone have expressed dismay at the use of the flag do not fit with Cathy Troyer's statement that some versions of the logo had already been halved in response to sentiments expressed by others. To minimally alter the flag by cutting off the lower half in no way hides its origins.

Lester Slezak

Claim: The U.S. Flag Is Just as Tainted as Japanese Flag

I'm glad to read that Lester Slezak is on a campaign to get Nippon Motor Service to stop displaying the Japanese imperial flag.

While he's at it, maybe he could get some Tucson businesses to stop displaying the American imperial flag. After all, the American flag represents the genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of Africans, discrimination against a number of different immigrant groups and countless atrocities in Vietnam, Korea, Guatemala, Laos, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Iraq, Uruguay, Greece, Angola, Ukraine and the Philippines. Does Mr. Slezak really think his own flag doesn't have its own "dirty history"?

Matt Peters

And Just for Old Time's Sake, Here's One More Pro-Latas Letter

You want me to trust your choice of political candidates ("Our Picks in Primary '06," Aug. 10). For example, you want me to vote for Gabrielle Giffords because she is "backed by all the right people." But you admit she has $800,000 worth of backers. I don't believe Congressman Raul Grijalva and all those others listed gave all that money. How about big medical, oil and mass media corporations? How about the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee funds?

The Democratic party has failed America over the past six years, including passively accepting the theft of the Florida and Ohio vote counts in 2000 and 2004, as well as supporting the crackpot neoconservative invasion of Iraq. They failed to oppose it, because they have been bought by corporate money. Who will Giffords owe if elected--the corporate donors and the Democratic party bosses, or the citizens of Southern Arizona?

I would rather see an independent representing us in Congress, someone like Jeff Latas, who hasn't been bought by the established powers.

R.C. Leonard

Claim: Anti-War Protesters Are Bullies, Anti-American

In response to Gretchen Nielsen's guest commentary about the anti-war vs. pro-America protesting on Speedway Boulevard (Aug. 24), I have to comment.

I've taken Speedway to get to work for the past four or five months. I've noticed the supporters waving the American flag, and I've also noticed the anti-Bush/war protesters surrounding them on every side. The anti-war protesters are sure to place a body at each point during the journey down Speedway so that they are the first and last bodies seen. My point is that if anyone is aggressive in their tactics, it is the author and her group of protesters.

The pro-war demonstrators wave flags, and they wave at drivers. In fact, there is only one sign in actual "support" of the war. The rest of the demonstrators are pro-America, which I'm sure to the anti-war clan is the same thing.

The larger point that I want to make is that the First Amendment covers ALL opinions, not just one side's version of the truth. Should the pro-America demonstrators be removed because the anti-war protesters own that strip of Speedway? Does the author feel that they are entitled to the sidewalk simply because they were there first? I think the real "bullies" in this situation are the anti-war protesters who relentlessly demonstrate. Please read up on the Constitution and then get yourself a job so you have something to occupy yourselves with instead of those mean flag-wavers.

Shauna Quintero

Claim: Dodge Middle School Critics Only a Tiny Group

I was very distressed by the article "Drama at Dodge" (Currents, Aug. 10). As an educator of 20 years and a Dodge Middle School parent, I felt compelled to write.

Let me be very clear: There is no controversy! Dodge Middle School is an astonishingly good school run by an outstanding educator in Cathy Comstock. As far as anyone at Dodge can tell, the nuisance lies in just a tiny group of people, some of whom do not even have children attending this school.

The truth is that during Comstock's tenure at Dodge, it has been the one and only middle school in the entire Tucson Unified School District to receive the label "excelling." Under her direction, Dodge is the top TUSD middle school for attendance, is the lowest in school suspensions and just this year had the most eighth-graders ever offered admission to University High School. In fact, other principals in the district seek Comstock's advice in helping them to raise their own academic designations. Dodge's current curriculum, under the direction of Ms. Comstock, should be the model for all Tucson middle schools.

There are good principals in Tucson, and there may even be some as outstanding as Cathy Comstock, but I can safely say that there is not a finer principal in our city.

It is amazing to me that the Tucson Weekly was sucked in to this nonstory by just these few troublemakers. The bigger, more compelling and disturbing story is why these two complainers have enough pull with the TUSD board to be able to create such a nuisance for this outstanding school. What is the true, hidden agenda of these stuck-in-the-'80s traditionalists? Why isn't the TUSD school board taking definitive action, and why aren't they listening to the school's majority parent population?

Robyn Gaub is quoted in Dave Devine's article as saying that the school's 1986 document "was structured to have an overabundance of parental input." In reality, the Gaubs and a few other hand-picked backers are demanding an overabundance of their own personal input.

Education is, by design, a process of continual evolvement, with fair and equal balance, governed by the state of Arizona. There is no controversy at Dodge Middle School. There is, however, a small group of parents who are abusing our school system, our legal system and the local media, to unfairly discredit anyone or anything not on board with their suspiciously one-sided agenda.

Professor Jay C. Rees

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