Excellent review
Carolyn Rummel’s review of “Brokeback Mountain” (PWW 1/14-20) was excellent. You really got a feel for the flow and meaning of the film. I would add that this was made possible by a great director, Ang Lee, and based on the amazing screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, both also producers of the film. They really brought Annie Proulx’s short story to life.
Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto captured the many feelings and stresses of the film. Many musicians were associated with the movie, led by Gustavo Santaollala, the music producer and lead guitarist. The music of Steve Earle, Emmy Lou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, the Allman Brothers, Merle Haggard, Rufus Wainwright, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson were integrated into the film.
“Brokeback Mountain” is gem in a sea of gems that make up an incredible number of progressive movies in 2005.

Eric Green
New York NY

Sharing vs. destruction
Though the times seem quite similar to 1965 with its quagmire of Vietnam being repeated in the quagmire of Iraq, they are different. Politics is not a pendulum swinging back and forth from left to right but rather a spiral where events return to the same place on the helix but at a higher level because humanists learn from previous experience.
The root solution lies in systems of thought. There are two opposing philosophies: the philosophy of sharing the planet versus that of conquering it. In the United States, this dichotomy is most vividly expressed in religious terms. Dr. Martin Luther King, who followed Jesus, shared, while a succession of self-proclaimed Christian imperialist presidents have tried to conquer the world.
When sharing the earth becomes the worldwide philosophy there will be peace, prosperity, good and long life everywhere.

William Bunge
Montreal, Canada

Help with Robeson exhibit
The exhibit, “Paul Robeson: The Tallest Tree in Our Forest,” will take place April 8 through July 1 at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland. As the curator of this exhibit, the Bay Area Paul Robeson Centennial Committee appeals to PWW readers for assistance in acquiring more memorabilia than we currently have. We believe that many people have things stored away in their attics, basements or garages, and we’re trying to ferret them out.
Robeson memorabilia can include: publicity leaflets and printed programs from his appearances; photographs, posters, artwork; original newspapers or periodicals with articles by him, pamphlets, correspondence; audio recordings and film footage of him (other than those produced commercially); costumes and stage props used by him; an autographed copy of “Here I Stand.”
Do you have any such items that you would consider donating to our collection? Please contact us: research@bayarearobeson.org.
Donors will be credited for items displayed. Any material you can provide will be an important contribution to our mission of helping to restore Paul Robeson to his rightful place in history and making his life and legacy more accessible to the public, especially the youth.

Bonnie Weiss
Via e-mail

Bonnie Weiss is director of research and archives for the Bay Area Paul Robeson Centennial Committee.

Vietnam’s growth not about capitalism
I read with interest Bob Wing’s article on Vietnam (PWW 1/21-27). For the most part I liked it. The reason that Vietnam is doing so well now has not so much to do with ideology and everything to do with the fact that it is not fighting a war. This 30-year stretch is the longest stretch in over 1,000 years when Vietnam has been left to its own devices. The new-found success cannot be attributed to capitalism alone. Vietnam is doing well simply because nobody is fighting Vietnam — capitalism and “doi moi” is a sideshow in all of this.
Vietnam was further damaged after the war when sanctions were directed at it because it invaded Cambodia — despite the fact that it was the Vietnamese that saw off the murderous Khmer Rouge.

Steve Jackson
Hanoi, Vietnam
Steve Jackson works for a non-governmental organization in Vietnam and writes a blog: ourmaninhanoi.blogspot.com.

Health care is a right
The Brian King opinion piece “‘Health care is a right’ — strong and simple” (PWW 1/21-27) is indeed a breath of fresh air. When he said, as a retired union steward, that he “believed the main element lacking in the health care reform movement was the participation of everyday people,” he hit the nail directly on the head. A 69 percent vote in Seattle makes it very clear what everyday people want. In Philadelphia, the people voted overwhelmingly for the Philadelphia Plan, which also makes health care a right. Soon, the people of Massachusetts will be voting on a constitutional amendment for the same cause. The recent statement by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney moves in the same direction. We need to spread the widest net possible to send the sharpest message to all candidates running for Congress in 2006: “Health care is a right.” Period.

Phil E. Benjamin
Brooklyn NY

Rights of airport workers
Airline employees and their contractors have a law that protects them when they speak out on aviation safety/security issues. However local government airport maintenance employees who work at America’s 450 FAA towered airports do not have this protection. If they are caught speaking out on such issues they can be retaliated against for doing so.
What can be done so that these workers can have the same protection as airline employees? Should airport maintenance employees report unsecured doors, gates and areas? Without this protection local government airport maintenance employees will be afraid to report any unsecured entrances/exits or other potential safety/security violations if they think a heavy handed management will retaliate against them for speaking out.
If one has a union or the courts to go to that can take years to fight for one’s job back while being out of work. So an employee can just turn the other way, pretend not to see anything. But where does that leave the airline transportation industry?

John Suter
Via e-mail