The Fox machine

   I really enjoyed reading your feature on the Tea Party movement in the Orlando Weekly ["Tea, bagged," April 29]. It's amazing to see how this ostensibly "grass roots" movement was pretty much manufactured by Fox News and the right-wing media and huge corporations. We need more people like you countering paranoia and right-wing propaganda with the truth. Keep up the good work.

Shakti Sharma, via the Internet

;The new Klan?

Enjoyed your fine synopsis of historical parallels to today's Tea Baggers ["Tea, bagged," April 29]. One group you omitted was the KKK, specifically the so-called "second Klan," 1915-30 variety. Although you may be well rid of this particular issue for the immediate present, these folks are not going away, at least in 2010. So just in case you want to think a bit further about their "forebears," take a quick look at Nancy MacLean's Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan. Her focus on the Klan's "reactionary populism" is key in my judgment to the Tea Party, too.

Although it's clear to me that there's some troubling racism among the Tea Baggers, I wouldn't put that at their core. Interestingly, neither does MacLean, or at least not quite, regarding the second Klan. Also very interesting is MacLean's last-chapter comments regarding the second Klan's similarity to developing fascism in Europe. Some of these Baggers are fascists, too.;Speaking of reactionaries, I have been saying for years that progressives/liberals are making a big mistake in allowing Republicans to call themselves "conservatives." Well, David Brooks is a conservative, as is George Will. But these days the Republican Christian-right base is, in the main, reactionary, ;not conservative.

Gary Williams, via the Internet

Tea is for freedom!

We don't need history to define us. We are the people who stand up for what we believe in, which is freedom in the United States. I have been working since 13 years of age; I am now 55 and over it. The takers in this country need to move to another country if they ;want Socialism.

Your description in your article in the Orlando Weekly ["Tea, bagged," April 29] was completely off as to who the Tea Party people are. They're hard working Americans who are over the handouts and the corruption. Everything our government has touched is broken: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Post Office, ;Fannie Mae, etc. 

The 9-12 Project was lots of Tea Party people in one place. You need to educate yourself before you belittle a group that loves our country. We just want our children and grandchildren not to be taxed to death because of a government that is so out of touch and corrupt it's disgusting.

Cindy Scherman, via the Internet

A blister popped

I just want to let [Billy Manes] know I have enjoyed reading your column for a long time ["Blist-ex," April 1]. Not your full ten years of madness, but pretty damn close. You have a whirling dervish style reminiscent of William S. Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson with a flavor all of your own. I feel like I have shared a voyeuristic journey with you over the years, and I am grateful for it. I look forward to whatever you do in the future but hope you still keep your thoughtful and melodramatic free-form prose alive. 

 I will truly miss your Blisters. And I can honestly say, I've never said that particular phrase to any one. 

Gabriel McLeod, via the Internet

A blister whistle?

 Hey, I liked your column. Sorry they took it out ["Blist-ex," April 1].  And sorry about your dog.  My redneck friend Dale in Michigan lost his 2 puppies, Salt and Pepper, the same way back in the ‘70s. He was a bit torn up about it because he had developed a special whistle for them. The paper isn't the same without your ramblings though I guess it will be okay. Nice work covering the City Hall beat, as usual.

Mike Bailey, via the Internet

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