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“Dialogue,” from page 2 living elsewhere. When the Czar was forced to abandon Polish territory, thousands could rejoice: “Thank God, we won’t have to suffer through another Russian winter!” Yet the southwest sun continues to scorch both sides of our moveable borders. Thanks to John Wayne and Clara Driscoll, we do remember the Alamo, though many forgotten battles in this region were more costly and more consequential. And that dreadful, evitable war that the United States and Mexico waged ten years later lacks resonance in the popular imagination. North Americans are more likely to be conversant with combat in the halls of Monte Cassino than those of Montezuma. Yet, whether or not cadets hurled themselves from the walls of Chapultepec, a claim I never made, the U.S.Mexican War was significant enough to deserve continuing controversy. COAL PORTER To paraphrase Cheech and Chong … if it looks like coal, smells like coal, tastes like coal … it must be coal \(“Coal By Any Other Name,” by black charcoal-like substance and watch the black powder come off on your hands. This low grade coal is a popular soil amendment in organic farms and gardens for good reason. It rapidly contributes humic acids to the soil, which are particularly helpful in rebuilding the structure of degraded soils. Good soil structure is critical to nutrient retention and erosion resistance. The natural process of soil tion of plant and animal urine and feces \(it’s plants, insects, microbes and other animals. Nature’s way is ideal but it is slow. Many organic farmers and gardeners speed up nature through compost additions and turning in plants grown for soil improvement slow acting amendment. Crop rotation combined with allowing soils to recover is a powerful method of soil maintenance and recovery. All of these things help producers avoid the need of humate, chemical, or other amendments when production is structured around soil improvement. I have read of organic farmers who say they are soil improvers who squeeze food crops in when they can. Humate-using organic farmers and gardeners need to take a close look at how humate is obtained, and consider the environmental costs. There is considerable humate production here in New Mexico. Keep kicldn’. WRONG PEPPERONI Cyrus Reed’s “Haze Over Managua” \(After the source of the money used , to restore the cathedral in Managua. Tom Monahans, owner of Domino’s Pizza not Pizza Hut was the person who made the donation. That donation was the genesis of the boycott against Domino’s by Central American solidarity groups. Now that the cathedral has been restored, Monahans has been donating to various rightwing causes here in the U.S. Too bad he can’t find other buildings to restore. Corinne Sabo San Antonio THE CASE AGAINST ORTEGA I was distressed but not surprised to see Cyrus Reed, in his article on Nicaragua, devote a fair amount of verbiage, but no feminist insight, to the Daniel Ortega sexual scandal. Reed’s conclusion was that pro-Sandinistas must disbelieve the accusations. Of course it is possible that Zoilamerica Narvaez has other reasons for making such accusations than telling the truth for a change. It is always possible that women and children lie about having been sexual prey. But why is that assumption so very common, ever since Freud? During a visit to Nicaragua in August, I specifically asked two long-term Nicaragua resident gringas, both Sandinista sympathizers, what they thought. One had initially believed the accusations; one had not. Both are now sadly convinced. It is painfully apparent, both from revelations about male leaders, and from comments and treatment from men one encounters daily, that many men still hold much contempt for women, still see women as objects to be used. Even many fervent advocates of human rights still seem to be unsure of women’s humanity. Ortega should renounce his immunity and stand trial for the serious, violent crimes of which he is accused. Ellen E. Barfield Baltimore REALISM IN OFFICE With all of the sanctimonious swooning taking place recently in Congress and in the media, one would assume that President Bill Clinton is the most irredeemable sinner who’s ever held public office. Let’s be realistic. He’s a normal alpha male. What Bill Clinton did was disturbing and disappointing. He was incredibly feckless and reckless. However, I find his mortal enemies such a motley group of pious hypocrites that it seems prudent to keep an open mind. The principal thing that I admire about us Americans is that we have an innate sense of fairness it’s why we support a democracy, and why we continue to give Bill Clinton the benefit of our doubt, as we gave Ronald Reagan and George Bush before him. The only difference between our president and our state senator, Drew Nixon, is that Bill Clinton was able to find someone who was eager and willing to make house calls. Playboy meets Cosmo girl. Claudia Elizabeth Jurney Nacogdoches RETIRE INDISCRETIONS There is one good thing that may come out of this mess. If the “statute of limitations” has run out on the affairs of Henry Hyde, Newt Gingrich, Dan Burton and Helen Chenoweth, then it must also have run out on Gary Hart, Ted Kennedy, and the past lovers of Linda Ronstadt and Debra Winger. It will be, refreshing, I am sure, for these men to have their privacy and dignity back. We should be nearing the statute of limitations for Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers. It has been about ten years for Paula and about twenty for Gennifer. Those were both at the state level and probably shouldn’t count at all. I think the statute of limitations should begin at the time of the actual offense, and not at the finish of the period of public consternation and humiliation, which can last for decades. We can call it “SOLID”: the Statute of Limitations, Indiscretion Declaration, and we can put it in civics books. Karen Webb Norman, Oklahoma COMMON VALUES A stranger overheard me talking in a restaurant about how ridiculous I thought the Republicans looked, pushing for Clinton’s impeachment with the climax of their $44 million taxpayer dollars worth of Starr investigations. At an easy opening, this stranger interjected his opinion that Clinton should resign. I bet him we had some common values. What r want most is getting our Democracy back from the influences of big money. I want a Democracy where the outcome of our national elections is determined by ideas put on the table by the candidates including third party candidates \(as opposed to the auctions we have now, dominated by dueling, superficial thirty-second TV ads paid for by Big Money He heartily responded: “Yes, there is way too much money influencing our politicians, including money from outside our country. Our politicians are so busy chasing their next campaign dollar they are generally unresponsive to the interests of common people like you and me.” The common values: We both want Congress to clean up its campaign finance system, and end the money influence scandal. The conversation reminded me that while the Republicans just reneged on Tobacco legislation, Republican-led filibusters have blocked Congress from voting on meaningful campaign finance reform for a second year in a row. William A. Self Redwood Valley, California Roby Wallace Albuquerque THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21 NOVEMBER 6, 1998