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It's easy to blame the driver or the companies, and both deserve some blame. But the laws that permit only paying by the mile and regulating by the hour encourage violation. Until this is changed, the trucking industry will continue to run on the ragged edge of safety.

Scott Sutton
Grand Prairie

What's in a name?
Was it really the truth, Ms. Miller? Laura Miller seems to be grooming herself for a loftier position, without the dues-paying avenues one usually has to take ["Truth hurts," February 11]. Grandstanding for the cameras, or shelling out the truth? Does she act this way when there are no cameras present? Time will tell whether she is sincere or just sincerely making a name for herself.

S. Jones
Via e-mail

Hooray for Levon
Hooray for Levon for shakin' the trees and lettin' the shit fall where it will ["The Great Divide," February 4]. Levon, Rick, Richard, and Garth are The Band. Robertson appears to be nothing but the emperor in new clothes supplied by Scorcese. God bless Levon for standing up against all the bullshit. And Robertson wanted to cut Muddy from the film to make room for Neil Diamond--ouch. Hey Levon, I need a drummer. We won't make any money, but we'll sure have a real good time.

Mark Prentice
Via e-mail

Very good, insightful article on Levon Helm. (I am one of the investors in his new New Orleans nightclub, so it was interesting to me, to say the least, to read this profile).

Mark Prentice
Via e-mail

Boo for Robert
The article "The Great Divide" by Robert Wilonsky was purely disgusting. I cannot imagine how any man or newspaper would publish an article that verbally abuses an older musician. True, Levon Helm may have a bad attitude, and it is probably for good reason. In Helm's telling of his story, I think that his side should be taken with a grain of salt and a belief that the man may have valid reasons for being angry. Your article does nothing but bash Levon Helm and The Band. It does nothing to illuminate the reader on the music that these men have given to the public for years. If they have personal conflicts amongst themselves, that is their problem. Your agenda seems to be to smear their image and their music, and I just don't understand the point of that. Your portrayal of Richard Manuel's suicide is just sick and disgusting. How can you even begin to know what was going on in that man's mind? I would guess that it is uninformed opinions such as those in this article that would push a man over the edge more than the music that he was making. I hope that before you bash someone the next time, you take more time to learn why they are angry and who they are. Maybe you need to grow up a little and gain some perspective before you write another article.

Leigh Smith
Via e-mail

Please, he's blushing
Robert Wilonsky's article on Paul Westerberg ["Bastard of middle age," February 11] is the most compelling article that I have ever read in the 15 years I have followed Westerberg. You can boast of having the finest wordsmith covering rock music today.

Via e-mail

Thank you for the thought-provoking article about Paul Westerberg and his descent into a tortured soul's innards. I have always admired Westerberg as an artist and admit that the new material on his latest record Suicaine Gratifaction is jarringly sober and spare. However, if you give it time to infest itself, you will be amazed at how deeply it grows with repeated listens. The quotes I read in this article were some of the most honest, frank revelations I've ever heard Westerberg confess to in more than 15 years of being a fan of his. Bravo!

Patrick McOwen
Via e-mail

The article on Paul Westerberg is well written, thorough, and informative, but the writer is trying to hard to be the clever revisionist critic. I find it very hard to argue against the fact that Let it Be, Hootenanny, Pleased to Meet Me, and All Shook Down stand up very solidly as albums, whole and complete. Even the greatest albums have duds, but the Replacements' duds are never boring, just slight. And let's not forget that Westerberg is the poet laureate of the slight moment, stupid jokes, and the sadly lost art of being a goofball. That was the thing that made the Replacements great, and it's a good thing that Westerberg recognizes it, but as his much underrated Grandpaboy album shows, he still has the knack. He just won't admit it.

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