Reading Rep. Schakowsky's sniveling defense of TSA (along with Durrrr-bin's endless "GFY" form letters and Kirk's shoo-fly-don't-bother-me "I'll pass it along, kthxbye" reply (singular)) to my correspondence got me thinking - way back when, in the days of another web forum that predates TUG, I drafted my very first congressional letter and was told two things by many people: 1. It was very well-written and 2. It would perhaps be better used as a letter to the editor of a newspaper than as a direct letter to Congresspeople. Being that some here regard me as a rhetorical heavy-hitter, I'm thinking it's time to make (2) happen. This, like many other forms of political activism, is a first for me so I'm turning to the seasoned veterans here for input. Part of me wants to apologize for needing so much hand-holding, but another part says it's worth it because we need to make every hit count and because every answer posted to me will also be available for others to read - others who may have similar questions. Common sense says hand-wringing never got anything done, so it's onward to victory. The questions I have: -Which newspaper do I write this to? I live in Park Ridge, IL, so there's the Chicago Tribune nearby, plus the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate. Does it have to be a local paper or can I shoot for NYT or something else super-high-profile? -How long should this be? I can wax lyrical for pages upon pages but I know space is at a premium so I want to hit that magic ratio that maximizes chances of publication and also effectively elucidates the points I'm trying to make. -A touchy one: I plan to call out, to some degree or another, Schakowsky, Kirk and Durbin for their negligence in defending civil liberties against TSA. The Slashdot article on "How to get through to a politician" mentioned that it's much, much harder for them to brush off news articles that are open to the public than private letters that only they and/or their aides will see. However, I don't want to cross the line into libel. It will be an opinion piece, and I have heard that clearly stating "it is my opinion that" will usually be enough to shield one from accusations of slander/libel, but I don't want to take that for granted. I want to express disappointment in our federal-level elected officials for (Schakowsky) flat-out making excuses for and defending TSA, (Durbin) sending form letter after form letter talking about long-past and pointless things like voting to criminalize leaking AIT photos, and (Kirk) sending two-sentence replies saying he passed the message along to TSA and is washing his hands of it. I realize that these scenarios are how I see it and not necessarily how other readers see it, so I have to figure out how to show skeptical readers that yes, these responses are unacceptable coming from elected officials; and at the same time I need to avoid crossing into personal attacks. -Multiple publications. How do papers usually handle copyright on these submissions? I have a policy of releasing all my anti-TSA materials as public domain content and would have no objections whatsoever to anyone else copying my letter verbatim and submitting it to another paper somewhere else to help get the message out there. Getting the word out is what matters to me, not personal glory, but I know some publishers have an "all your submitted content becomes our property" clause so if I run into that...how do I handle submitting this to multiple news sources? Thanks in advance, as always, for any help, pointers, guidelines, and answers you can give me. Also as always, I'll be posting periodic revisions of the letter here for review and feedback before I go to the papers with it. Hopefully I can get some advice on them as the work progresses.