A modest proposal
I read with interest Jack Lessenberry's article, "Porn and other atrocities" (Feb. 9). Several thoughts cross the mind. One, the media are not only in the business of informing us, but also in the business of making money. With a cutthroat competition in an era of cable TV, Internet and the 24/7 news cycle, the idea is to get the news as fast as possible before the competitors do and make the news as titillating as possible to boost the ratings, in case of radio and TV, or increase the circulation, in case of print media, or increase the number of eyeballs, in case of Internet. Second, as much as I am personally against prostitution, we have to acknowledge that prostitution is the oldest profession, and we might as well accept it. Just as Prohibition did not work with respect to alcohol consumption, no laws against prostitution have a chance to work. So, we might as well have government regulate it and develop a new revenue stream. This way we can also address issues like child prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases. Third, we need the FBI to continuously look at websites promoting child pornography, prosecute the site owners and shut them down immediately. Fourth, as much as I hate violence, we should not worry too much about "violence porn" as long as it represents real news. —Pradeep Srivastava, Detroit
The wages of hemp
Re: Larry Gabriel's column "Hemp on the ropes" (Feb. 9), the only thing more stupid than outlawing marijuana is banning hemp. Without hemp, the United States would have lost World War II. Without hemp, none of the U.S. Navy's battleships, aircraft carriers and other big ships could have sailed. Without the hemp cables used for maneuvering these behemoths, they would have been out of action, resulting in the loss of the war in the Pacific.
Fortunately, the War Department overruled Harry Anslinger's reefer madness assault on hemp and the Hemp For Victory program won the day. Nevertheless, after World War II the Bureau of Narcotics again banned hemp growing. The claim was and is "we cannot tell the difference between marijuana and hemp."
This is one of the big, big lies still told about cannabis, because it is easy to tell the difference between a hemp field and a pot garden from 100 yards away. You see, hemp is broadcast or sown on 4-inch centers. By the time a hemp field is two or three feet high it is impossible for a man to walk through the field. With a pot garden, plants are seeded on 3-foot centers, to allow branching and increased bud production. Also, the male plants are removed to prevent fertilization and a lowering of bud potency.
It is impossible to confuse a hemp field with a marijuana garden, because pot disguised as hemp would be pollinated and would be worthless as a drug crop.
One other thing: Allowing hemp growing will provide hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States. Hemp is a cash crop with dozens of industrial uses that can put farming on a profit-making basis. —Ralph Givens, Daly City, Calif.
Loved your article on the barbecue establishments ("Fire it up," Short Order, Feb. 2). I personally love Vicki's Bar-B-Q. I've been going there with my dad since I can remember; I am 42 and my dad has been going there since he was a kid. Excellent article — can't wait till tomorrow to pick up a slab! —Christopher Simmons, Detroit
Our Motor City Five with Will Sessions (Feb. 9) incorrectly stated the hometown of Fela Kuti. He was born in Abeokuta, in Ogun State, Nigeria.