Letters for the week of November 16-22, 2005 

Backlash to the Sony antipiracy software we wrote about last month, and alternative suggestions for a monument to Maudelle Shirek.

"Burning the Faithful," Music, 10/19

I won't buy them
Sony is smoking dope if they think many music buyers are going to go for copy-protected CDs. I've been a rock music fan for years. I have over two thousand LPs and hundreds of CDs. I've bought fewer in recent years because of high prices, homogenized music, and -- often overlooked -- the general lack of great rock radio. I don't seek out nor am I usually given copies by friends (even when they're offered). As a collector, I want the record company's version with all the artwork and labeling. However, as a hobbyist, if I can't make copies of CDs freely so that I can enjoy my hobby, I just won't buy any such CDs. Unless we're talking the Second Coming of the Beatles, I won't buy. It's that simple.
Joe Scanlon, Oakland


"Publisher for the Perpetrators," Cityside, 9/28

Mistakes were made
Your story about Ray Hrdlicka was interesting but light on a few facts. His "innovative methods" of taking little or no money down and no collateral on some bail bonds may have been the reason that his license to practice bail in Washington state was revoked. Once Washington state revoked his license, the state of California did the same. To view the ruling, go to www.insurance.ca.gov/license-status and read for yourself those "financial missteps" that your article mentioned in passing.
Tony A. Suggs, Richmond


"Maudelle's Consolation Prize," Bottom Feeder, 10/5

What's the rush?
A person can't be put on a postage stamp until ten years after their death, and I don't understand why we don't have at least as strict a rule for important public buildings and facilities. It shouldn't be difficult in Berkeley to imagine a high public official, with a good reputation, performing a surprising act that makes having their name on a building extremely embarrassing. I think it's a good idea to memorialize people with the names of public facilities, to remind future generations of who has come before, but not in their lifetimes.
Aaron Priven, Oakland

Or perhaps a gulag
Iowa Republican Steve King may be a political reactionary, but he was right for leading the fight against the renaming of the main Berkeley Post Office after ancient ideologue Maudelle Shirek. When asked by a Chronicle reporter if Shirek was a member of the Communist Party, pro-Palestinian propagandist Barbara Lubin, a fellow traveler who has long been in a position to know, retorted, "So what if she was?"

Indeed, Shirek, married for years to long-term CPUSA member Brownlee Shirek, regularly acknowledged that her politics echoed that of her husband. It was simply not politically expedient for her to openly join the CP herself. Nevertheless, when Shirek made frequent "goodwill" trips to Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, and other Soviet satellites, she had nothing but praise for those oppressive regimes.

Now some Berkeley lefties want to honor Shirek by naming something local in her honor. May I suggest a cemetery? After all, it would be appropriately symbolic of the estimated forty million murdered by the Stalinist dictatorships Shirek so ardently defended.
Dan Spitzer, Kensington

Bush-Anderson 2005
Oh, the horror, the horror! Republicans, in a direct display of political conviction, do not want to name a post office after Berkeley's leftist icon Maudelle Shirek. All of the local handwringing does not obliterate the fact that no such postal monument would be needed if Ms. Shirek had not been dirty-tricked out of her city council seat by a campaign filing "mistake" made by one of her staffers. Every single political insider in Berkeley knows that the likelihood of this being a mistake was about the same as Shirek's lucky council replacement, Max Anderson, voting for George Bush.

On another equally off note, Berkeley's left political establishment will not be happy until every school, public building, street, park, and possibly tree is renamed in homage to themselves.
Barbara Gilbert, Berkeley


"Teflon Don Employs Jacko's Dick," Cityside, 10/5

Sophomoric and unfair
I was disappointed to read the recent article "Teflon Don Employs Jacko's Dick." Using a headline not fit for a Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid, the article proceeds to besmirch the name of an outstanding private investigator and his firm. The sophomoric penile double entendres are bad enough, but then to prominently play up insinuations against another private investigator who worked for Bill Clinton so you can justify saying in your lead paragraph that this a "connection to a certain private dick from Emeryville" is quite a distortion.

The disclaimer near the end of the article that there has not even been a hint of impropriety by Eric Mason nor anybody at his firm is too little, too late, and cuts against the apparent premise and need for publishing this article.

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