The primary beneficiaries of campaign contributions are the news media, whose profit margins often depend upon the volume of the political ads they carry ["Loan Shark Attack," May 14]. Unless elections are government-financed or the media give candidates free ads, that is the stark reality of our democracy. Contributors, of course, will contribute to those who have similar viewpoints. That is the stark reality of human nature, whether liberal or conservative.
Hence, your critique of Congressman Ney for introducing legislation to make uniform rules for lenders is misplaced.
Predatory lending laws like Cleveland's discourage loans for Clevelanders, because lenders will not subject themselves to local variations in laws, when avoiding communities that have unique rules is simply the better business choice.
Whatever your views on the legislation, however, they should be focused on its merits. Not on the hypocrisy of biting the hand that feeds your industry.
Kenneth F. Seminatore
Corporations buy more than ads:
Thanks for reporting the story on predatory lending. It's refreshing to read stories that focus on poor people's issues, so thanks to Rich Lord.
The local media giants would never report a story like this. Why? Because of their relationship with the city's financial and banking institutions' advertising dollars. I think many of Scene's writers should be on Dick Feagler's so-called public-affairs show on Channel 25. I find it amazing that public television is so corporate-controlled, too. I find it very upsetting that none of the alternative news journalists are on local public television.
Joseph P. Mason
Ohio's in a bad state:
Gentlemen, if you take this as ass-kissing, then you deserve a smacking.
That said, the May 14 issue of Scene is absolutely incredible. Sure, I may be trying like a maniac to get the hell out of Ohio, but hot damn, this is one of the best issues of any periodical I've read in a long time. Particularly Pete Kotz's "Ohio Means Business" and Jason Bracelin's "Campus Crackdown."
Seriously, Kotz's article was a dead-on example of one of the many reasons why this place drives me crazy, particularly since there is the possibility of redemption for this unholy state. And Bracelin's was something that finally agreed with my point of view on the whole RIAA (Rave Act) thing. They will lose.
Of course, these two articles are not the only reason this current issue is so outstanding, for the reviews are all precise, "Clan of the Cave Geek" was great, everything was great, dammit.
Screwed up over Zippers:
I've never laughed so hard in my life ["Ohio Means Business," May 14]. Kotz is good. Tell the politicians to keep laughing and screwing up for the new guy on the block.
My son has just joined the Zippers staff as national sales manager, and when he told me of this, I couldn't believe it. Keep up the good work, and keep plugging for the little guy.
Video-gamers lack imagination:
I am a geek. I've been a geek since Raiders of the Lost Ark, Thundarr the Barbarian, and Secret Wars, Volume I, Issue 1. I will probably be a geek for the rest of my life.
The people you featured in "Clan of the Cave Geeks" [March 14] are not geeks. They are video-gamers. The difference between geeks and video-gamers is a quality called imagination. Video-gamers are passive slaves to audio and visual stimuli. They are dependent on the next "version 2.0" for their entertainment.
Geeks generally tend to be creative and gravitate toward reading, writing, art, Renaissance fairs, and role-playing games. I have played Dungeons & Dragons for 20 years, and I can tell you from experience that video games will never match the creativity and complexity that role-players have put into their campaign worlds. Watching a blip on a computer screen alone in your basement will never be more engaging than interactive role-playing with real people.
I would recommend to the video-gamers that they turn off their screens, pick up some dice, and turn on their imaginations.
Getcher QSL FAQs here:
The only things missing from Darren Keast's recent article on shortwave radio were photos of pirate-radio-station QSL cards ["Waves of Fascination," May 14].
Pirate radio stations broadcast without an FCC license. Typically, they are on late at night and during weekends and holidays, and their programming is truly unique.
My favorite pirate broadcaster is Alan Maxwell's KIPM. Alan's radio dramas are like the Twilight Zone for radio. The stories and audio effects are incredible, and it's amazing to think that Alan does it all. You can hear samples of Alan's work at homepage.mac.com/kipm.
The pirate broadcasters encourage listeners to send in reception reports -- typically to a secret mail-drop site. This is called "QSLing" in radio lingo. In response to your report, the station will send you a QSL card. The cards usually feature creative artwork and are prized by many shortwave listeners.