To the Editor: Ballot access is the major problem in this country, and it will never be dealt with so

To the Editor:

Ballot access is the major problem in this country, and it will never be dealt with so long as we have a two-party system [“The Blue-Ribbon Boys Make a Mess of Voting,” Nicholas von Hoffman, The National Observer, Oct. 10]. I am against both the Democrats and the Republicans insofar as their loyalties are to moneyed individuals and groups and not to America’s voters. Perhaps that is why most people don’t vote … nah, probably not.

As elections near, I try to go and have coffee in small-town diners and listen in on the talk about politics. Some voters are very bitter about what goes on, but it seems not to provide any incentive to go forth and force change.

I wish I had some brilliant idea that would get the public up in arms. I guess I’ll keep flailing in the dark and maybe one day I’ll hit something deserving of a wake-up smack.

Kal Palnicki

Columbus, Ohio

Analyze This

To the Editor:

Re “George and Hilly” [George Gurley, The New York World, Oct. 10]: Why should we care?

Enough, already!

Tania Grossinger


Pimping Out

To the Editor:

I really enjoyed Alexandra Jacobs’ hysterical piece in the Oct. 3 paper [“Yes, I Flew JetBlue Flight 292”]. My husband was one of Ms. Jacobs’ flight mates, so I was glued to the tube for all the coverage I could get. I saw her quick interview on the Today show the next morning and I knew that her name seemed familiar!

Isn’t it funny how quickly anyone can turn into a media whore? I should know: I tried to do it to my husband, but he limited himself to MSNBC—I got him on within five minutes after he landed, while he was still sitting on the bus!—the Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter, CBS Radio and NPR. I asked him about calling his hometown paper, The Indianapolis Star, which I’m sure would have loved the local angle, but even he sniffed at a purely regional media outlet. “National only!” he said.

Anyway, it’s fun to laugh at it now, but I know it was scary … ’cause I was watching the whole surreal thing myself.

Leslie Zeller Schwartz


It’s Not Jew, It’s Me

To the Editor:

Being both a leftist and a Jew, Richard Brookhiser’s column in the Oct. 3 issue of The Observer about American Jews being attacked from the left has made me rethink my position on the neocons [“American Jews Unprepared for Attacks From the Left,” The National Observer]. All the while I was opposing the neocon position, I thought I was criticizing an ideology that has proven counterproductive to American foreign-policy interests, may have caused thousands of needless deaths and has certainly made the world a much more dangerous place; I wasn’t aware that I was actually being anti-Semitic. I would like to thank Mr. Brookhiser for enlightening me. I wonder, however: Isn’t the real issue the validity of an ideology, not the religion of some of the people who support it?

Barry Feiner

Harrison, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Tell Mr. Brookhiser: No more songs, please.

Robert Lethbridge

Auburn, Calif.

For the Love of Phil

To the Editor:

Thanks to Ron Rosenbaum for the article “Attitude of Gratitude for Great Phil Ochs, Forgotten Un-Dylan” [Edgy Enthusiast, Oct. 3]. I, too, was deeply affected by “There But for Fortune,” in the same ways that Mr. Rosenbaum expressed. Phil was our group’s guru in the 60’s; I think it was 1968 when he came to our University of Western Ontario campus for a concert. Naïvely, I asked him if I could tape his concert. I was surprised when he said no. I spent a half-hour with him talking about the movement. I was embarrassed after we parted that I had made assumptions about him that were based on my conceptions and interpretations of what he was rather than his actual person.

Mr. Rosenbaum’s paragraph, “But maybe some people, even with good education and the right attitude about the system, fall down on their luck: There but for fortune …. Perhaps it’s my own low self-esteem speaking, but I always feel I’ve been a couple of lucky breaks away from being the other guy,” is absolutely dead-on.

Dave Allin

Meaford, Ontario

Canada Letters