A point of clarification on the colony of swifts at Chapman School ["Back to Reality," WW, Aug. 20, 2003): The birds congregate for three to four weeks, not three to four days. They normally arrive in the last days of August and depart by Oct. 1 when temperatures drop; the largest flocks of 5,000 to 25,000 swifts usually gather in mid-September. Bird-hunting hawks add another element of drama to the show.

The best place to watch the swirling tornado of swifts descend into the chimney is from the grassy hillside just uphill from the corner of Northwest 26th Avenue and Pettygrove Street. Swift Watch volunteers from the Audubon Society of Portland will be on hand every evening Sept. 6-26 to answer questions and share information.

Dave Helzer
Program Coordinator,
Audubon Society of Portland



Batters up, it's Bash Mike Hawash Week!

The Nose flew into the outfield Aug. 13 with yet another entry into the news media's continuing Bash Hawash Fest. First up, The Oregonian's David Reinhard struck out against Hawash on the PBS program Seven Days. Reinhard repeated over and over how Hawash proves how the Patriot Act is working just fine. The Oregonian editorialized again on the same rehashed theme. Naturally, the TV news was all over the ever-exciting "Portland Seven" story. Now, it's Willy Week's turn with your own variation. Well gosh golly, do I feel secure knowing the "terrorist" Hawash is locked up and guilty guilty guilty. Guilty of supporting those nasty Taliban--the same group the U.S. government trained and funded during the former Afghanistan war staged by the Russians. And by the way, where is the evidence that the Taliban are responsible for 9/11? Outside of some Hollywoodised videotapes, there was none. There was certainly never any trial. Seems that nasty Osama is still MIA, or is he reclining on a Bahama beach, sipping Mai Tais on the CIA's tab?

As for blaming Hawash for aiding Big Brother Rumsfeld, please, get real. Rumsfeld will use any excuse to pummel us with his anti-terror campaign. He doesn't need Hawash to do it. If Hawash hadn't come along (or perhaps been coaxed along), Rumsfeld would have come up with another "terrorist" for us to hate.

Please, Nose, get busy asking a few more questions before falling in line with the official stories. What motivated Hawash to turn state's evidence? Is it really simply because he is guilty of conspiring to aid the Taliban? Was he given some unsavory options if he didn't cooperate--maybe a secret military tribunal or a little threat to freedom anytime in the 21st century? What about the evidence itself--wasn't it all circumstantial? Why would his attorney allow him to cave if that were so? Yes, it's an ongoing case and the attorney may not be able to comment, but wouldn't it be good to dig up a little more and try to get to the core of this story and not just recycle and spin it ad nauseam?

We are fed a daily diet of regurgitated news pitched straight from the mainstream's polluted stream of disinformation. Start using your noggin to bring us some real news deserving of WW's alternative credentials.

Courtney Scott
Northeast Flanders Street