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Contextual correction
I'm writing in reference to Greg Barbera's otherwise excellent recent article on Superchunk ["Staying Power," Oct. 24]. Talking about the band's Come Pick Me Up, Barbera writes:

"It was a direction that didn't please everyone: 'Come Pick Me Up seems to lack strong melodies,' wrote Matt Hickey in Magnet magazine."

I did write those words, but the gist of the review--which Barbera neglects to mention--was that the record initially seemed to lack melodies but over the course of further listens, developed into a worthy addition to the band's catalog.

I'm on record in Magnet and other publications as being a big Superchunk booster--I even joked in a review of a pre-Come Pick Me Up single that they might have a restraining order against me--so I don't appreciate the out-of-context usage of my opinion regarding the album.

Plans for pets
Beth Livingston was way off the mark in her article "Rubbermaid ready" [Nov. 28] when she suggested our pets could fend for themselves during an emergency. Food and water are not the only resources our pets rely on us for. Hurricane Floyd showed us that our pets also need us to ensure their safety and be responsible for them in times of crisis. When deciding what to do about your pet in an emergency, keep in mind the hundreds of pets that were left behind during Hurricane Floyd. Remember the dogs who drowned because they were chained in the yard, or who were floating down the raging water with nothing to hold on to. Remember the many pets that were forever separated from their owners. And finally, decide if this fate is what you want your pet to follow.

I suggest that when making an emergency plan for yourself, make a plan for your pets too. Arrange for a friend, your vet, or a family member in another city to take care of them. If nothing else, leaving a pet in a carrier in the car at the shelter (weather permitting) for a few days is much better than a pet that has been left at home and is injured or suffering.

Our pets' welfare is our responsibility. Abandoning them is never the answer.

The Nov. 28 Front Porch article "Rubbermaid ready" was right on when it comes to helping humans through disasters, but fell short on disaster preparedness for companion animals. Emergency Animal Rescue Service-trained and having worked for a animal rescue group at the time of Floyd, I can attest that rarely will they "fend for themselves" without precautionary measures beyond leaving out extra food and water. Those of us who have animals at home have a responsibility to plan in advance to prevent injury to our animals and the rescue teams that try to save them if we don't.

Identification is crucial should you and your animals become separated. Keep up-to-date collars and tags on your animals and have them microchipped by your vet. Also, take clear identifying photos ahead of time and keep them with you.

Before a disaster strikes, identify several locations where you can take your animals. Left alone, a pilot light may go out, pipes break, electrical systems short circuit, or you may be away too long and the animal may starve or dehydrate. Are there out-of-town relatives you could stay with? The Charleston County Emergency Preparedness Division has created a help Web site of hotels that allow animals in their area, should you need to evacuate out of town.

Make a preparedness kit for your animals. Keep at least a week's supply of food on hand as well as water. Make sure you have a carrier for each cat you need to transport and a harness and leash for each dog. Don't make a disaster even bigger by leaving animals at home to perish or complicate the work of volunteer rescue workers who try to save them. Prepare in advance. Visit for more information.

Poster praise
A.J. Brown is my hero! A.J. Brown's poster ["The Poster Police," Nov. 21] is a beautiful example of the torch of Liberty, and the guarantees protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America. I would love to write her personally. A young woman with such insight is rare these days. "The Poster Police" was a great article. A.J. Brown should be given a medal. We will all be visited by change-agents one day. May A.J. Brown live long and prosper. She is a true patriot, and I am very proud of her. Let her poster, and her free-mind, and her Freedom of Speech be a lesson to all "Bush Worship" freaks, and couch-potato patriots, who run scared when the chips are down. AJ doesn't need the National Guard, she has enough to get her by. I am so very proud.

Stranger than fiction
Wow! I just finished Derek Jennings story "You Know Me Too Well" from the Nov. 28 edition. He has hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, no one is listening. The government has managed to so scare the general population that no one has given a second thought to issues such as "homeland security," detention of "material witnesses," or "passenger profiling." Kudos to Mr. Jennings for bringing everything into focus and painting a horrifying picture of where this country is headed if we continue to believe the idiotic (some would say patriotic) blathering of our "leaders."

This is an article that needs to be read by every member of Congress. I'm not saying it would stop everything that is happening, but maybe it would slow things down a little. I was horrified by what I heard and saw on Sept. 11. However, I'm not willing to give up the freedoms on which this country was founded. I served my country proudly as a Marine, but where we are headed is not what I would call America. We are headed in the dangerous direction of Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union. I don't think that is overstating it.

"We the People" cannot allow the government to take control and turn us into a nation of submissive robots. "We the People" must stand and shout that being patriotic does not mean blindly allowing the politicians to do whatever they feel is necessary. "We the People" have a voice and it must be raised loud and long to ensure justice, though blind, is not further handicapped. "We the People" need to make sure that the Constitution of this country continues to nurture "a more perfect union," not a perfectly policed union.

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