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After the election: spinning the web

The article ``With political arms stacked, Bush asks national conciliation,'' Nov. 10, quotes George Bush's ``spinmaster'' James Lake claiming that ``the 54 percent-to-46 percent split in the popular vote gives Bush the fourth-greatest mandate in the last half century, behind Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and President Reagan.'' Mr. Lake overlooked the Johnson (1964) and Nixon (1972) landslides. In fact, of the nine men who have been elected president in the last 50 years, Mr. Bush's ``mandate'' ranks sixth, beating only Harry Truman, John Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter. Apparently the distortions did not end with the balloting. David Carvalho, Chicago

Governments and gambling Thank you for the article ``States, individuals getting hooked on lawful gambling,'' Nov. 4, on government-sponsored lotteries and other forms of gambling.

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When the lottery was begun in Illinois it was pushed with the promise that the proceeds would go to education. There was very little public comment about the irony of financing education with the proceeds of gambling.

The old saying that ``taxation is the art of plucking the most feathers from the goose with the least squawking'' is certainly true in this case. And the most feathers are coming from those who can least afford this kind of taxation without representation.

Treating compulsive gamblers after they are ``hooked'' is not the way to go - preventing the situation from happening at all is the answer. Governments, state or local, ought not to be sponsoring it. Olive Whiting, Anna, Ill.

Death by marijuana The article ``Marijuana: latest US agribusiness,'' Nov. 2, quotes a Drug Enforcement Administration administrative law judge as saying ``...there are no credible medical reports that suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death.'' There are many kinds of deaths. In my work with drug-affected kids I have seen all too many fractured and nonproductive lives. I've seen kids and some adults living in states of marijuana-induced depression and paranoia. That is not living!

There have been hundreds of research projects about the effects of marijuana and not one has found marijuana to be a ``benign'' substance, as one former pot farmer is quoted as stating. Marijuana is addictive, breaks down the immune system, affects short-term memory, interferes with normal reproductive systems in males and females, and much more. Thomas Creighton, Deerfield, Ill.

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