Letters for July 13-19, 2006
Mayor Al's Buddy
Take that, thugs: Great work, and I am sure Mayor Al is steaming ("Mayor Al's Shady Pal," Bob Norman, July 6). I am sending a copy to Scott Lassar in Chicago, who was with the U.S. Attorney's Office during "Operation Greylord" and is familiar with the thugs you mentioned. Well done!
Womb With a View
Jeff takes our nightlife columnist to task: Listen, I know New Times is a free paper, but couldn't you guys budget a little more for coherent writers? After reading Marya Summers' so-called political piece, I was puzzled as to the point, if there was one ("Well Hung," July 6). Early on, she says, "Knocked-up prairie women no longer have a choice about their pregnancies..." They do; they can choose to get pregnant or not get pregnant, as can all women (yes, ladies, you still are the only ones who can get knocked up). Has anyone ever thought that not getting pregnant when you don't want to is the choice that comes well before the option to have an abortion? Last I checked, there are far more ways to prevent pregnancy than there are to get pregnant. So why is this still such an issue? That's not even the biggest problem with my new favorite FemiNazi's article and the premise, if there was one at all. Certainly, whether pro-choice or pro-life, religious or not, any sensible soul would be a little perplexed to see a comparison between sucking fat out of the body versus a human fetus. I would feel deeply sorry for anyone who made the decision to have an abortion and thought of it as no more than liposuction. But that's the modern feminist movement for you. I can only conclude with, "Ladies, if the right to choose is so important, then choose not to get pregnant if you don't want to." It's not that hard to figure out. To those of you frightened by personal responsibility, I apologize sincerely.
Feed the hungry, already: In 2003, specialty plates raised $26,351,947. In 2004: $27,588,845. In 2005: $30,480,707. The 11 new plates issued in 2004 that were available in 2005 have raised $1,758,355, so far. The Imagine plate has raised $167,475 since May 2005 for the food banks for programs directed at ending hunger in Florida ("The License Plate Gambit," Tailpipe, July 6). At a time when the food banks are still reeling from helping Floridians after last year's hurricane season and are now faced with the high cost of gasoline, which severely impedes their ability to deliver food to needy people, it would be nice for someone to help these worthy causes get the word out about the plate and where the proceeds go instead of joining the ranks of the misinformed in criticizing a program that depends on voluntary participation by the citizens of Florida. Certainly the hungry people who benefit from the program will hope that the "bubble" does not burst.
Editor's note: According to the state, all of the numbers Towner cites are slightly inflated. The Imagine plate, for example, has brought in $79,625 since it was created in July 1994, not $167,475 just since May 2005. But that still misses the point of the Tailpipe piece, which merely pointed out that the money brought in is being diluted by too many specialty plates.
Thanks for the travel advice, Josh: You are quick to point out the deputy's alleged checkered past without thoroughly explaining the circumstances of the incident. The deputy was responding to a felony in progress involving two suspects, and it was unknown if they were armed ("Deputy Do-Wrong," Wyatt Olson, June 29).
As he arrived, he spotted two subjects exiting the complex who fit the description given. For his safety, he drew his weapon, since these men possibly just committed a felony. Should he have waited to see if the men were armed? I think not, for it would be too late for him if they were. What transpired after that only the parties involved can state, for they were the only ones there. Perhaps there was a language barrier that led to the men's not obeying the deputy's commands. However, that is not his fault. As you stated, they were illegal immigrants and possibly didn't have a firm grasp of the English language. One would think, though, that if one is in a foreign country and is approached by police, one would automatically put his hands up when a gun is pointed at them. I think a handgun is the universal symbol for "hands up!"
So, in conclusion, I state, if you go to a foreign country and don't learn the language first, immediately surrender to the police whether you are guilty or innocent. It is easier to prove your innocence than it is to recover from a gunshot wound.
The Duke Still Rules
Give Ella credit, but not where it ain't due: Your reviewer asks, "What would Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, the Gershwin brothers, Irving Berlin, or Johnny Mercer have done without her translations?" ("If It Ain't Got That Swing," Dave Amber, June 29).
Plenty. Ella wasn't born until 1918. By the time she was "discovered" in 1934, Ellington was already a famous composer, bandleader, and film star. Ella recorded the Duke Ellington Songbook and appeared with Ellington on record and in concert in the latter part of his career, but his success as a composer was his success, not hers.
I imagine the same can be said of George Gershwin, who died in 1937, only a year after Ella started her recording career. A little exaggeration is fine, but your reviewer gives the impression Ella was responsible for the fame and popularity of these composers. It ain't necessarily so.
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