Letters for January 31, 2002 | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Letters for January 31, 2002

Spiritual bankruptcy abounds: I happened to stumble on Chuck Strouse's column on the art debate in Hollywood ("Ax, Lies, & Audiotape," January 17). I think it was the word dullards that caught my eye. Once again... a liberal never fails to show his true colors. Granted, the Easter Bunny and Santa are not sacred symbols but instead Christian symbols of rebirth and charity and giving. The Easter bunny is borrowed from pagan images of fertility, and Santa is borrowed from a Christian bishop.

The point is that the painting turns the symbols upside down and into murderous, hateful entities pitted against each other in violence and hatred. I wonder if you would be so libertarian if Jewish symbols were denigrated in such a negative tone. I doubt it; it wouldn't be politically correct.

The picture is silly at best and easily dismissed as being on the fringe. The other point about it is that such a violent image placed on symbols of good during the holy season of Christmas is nothing short of inappropriate. We had just experienced a real violent event in September where incarnate evil reared its head. Did we really need to add this to our trauma? Does it add anything to the spirit of the holiday? To the healing process after 9/11? I don't think so.

Strouse's arrogant tone is indicative of the left in this society, which has turned our culture into a sump. You need only look at New Times's classified ads to see how devoid of values your all-knowing elitism really is. What you don't see are the wrecked lives, spiritual bankruptcy, AIDS infection, and unwanted pregnancies that your standardless ethos has produced. You seem to think that art, if it's art, is therefore beyond morality, which is just plainly arrogant.

You need to clear the liberal dust out of your eyes. It's clearly designed to sell. Just commerce, not something to base life decisions by.

Brad Marshall
Fort Lauderdale

...credit is due: I read with interest the very well-written January 10 article "Drug Holiday," by Ashley Fantz. On the matter of when and who founded the original "AIDS CenterOne," once referred to as serving "Anyone in Distress," please be advised of the following:

While the center did operate in the basement and pool retail area of the old Marlin Beach Hotel on A1A, it moved on to other locations: namely Riverside, Oakland Park, and then back to Fort Lauderdale. Founding credits should go to David magazine's Mark Riley and Hank Godley, Frank Arango, etc., who were there at the time of inception. Did anyone interview the founder of the Tuesday Night Group, its legal adviser for many years -- Tony Livoti -- longtime volunteer "Miss Vicki" Keller, the Rev. John Gill, etc., for historical accuracy?

Gary Steinsmith served as executive director when Alan Schubert was on the center's board of directors. Gary actually followed other executive directors and/or early volunteer managers who either passed on or were replaced. Brad Buchman was a past president of the Dolphin Democratic Club and for a time acted as an administrative assistant to Schubert.

Perhaps the roles of people like John Solomon, Fred Tondalo, Juliette Love, Frank, Hank, Miss Vicki, Karl Clark, Jasmine Shirley Moore, Lynn Mattingly, Buddy Markewell, and others have long been forgotten as local history is again revised.

Andy Eddy
Former CenterOne Volunteer
Fort Lauderdale

But harboring no ill will: Come on, Jim Gaines, why don't you call it as it is? You did some awesome research on these crooks ("Call Me Now! ... And Pay Me Later," January 3). I did not read one legitimate source of information stating these people are psychic. Every other state is suing the heck out of these people, but our attorney general, Bob Butterworth, doesn't. They probably pay him a percent of the profit they make.

But they are nice people, and the problem is their billing system. They don't mean to defraud the whole country, just some people. Give me a break.

Please do not publish my name, because I am considering my options after being taken advantage of by these people. I used up over $25,000 in IRAs after taking them out early, so my credit would not be messed up. I had to pay the taxes on this.

I then had my credit totally, 100 percent screwed up. I was in a very vulnerable stage of my life, and I never saw anything tangible or a word of truth from these people. I am 30 years old and in debt because of this.

Name withheld by request
Boynton Beach

A karmic response: Thank you! I was very glad to read about Steve Feder and his crooked ways. I tried to work for PRN for a very short time but could not buy into his deception and control of the psychics. Most of all, I could not stand to listen to his condescending voice. I discovered most of my coworkers felt the same way.

I have worked psychic lines since 1992 but could never bring myself to tell folks only what they wanted to hear. I have a clear understanding of karma and choose not to bring such karma of deception on myself. I try not to encourage regular call-back clients either. I tell someone what's there and answer questions. They are told to do with it whatever they choose, but they can change their path at any time, which is their responsibility, not mine.

As a result, I don't make the big money others make, but at least my karma is clean. In fact, the only line I work is one where you pay for your minutes upfront and cannot make a call if you have reached your limit. The amount put into your account is up to each individual. In that way, there is no deception. At one time, a lot of Miss Cleo psychics worked there, but now they are no longer listed.

There are many of us who have worked for lines owned by people who make huge amounts of money while the psychics who actually do the work earn very little. Those who read from scripts and give only what someone wants to hear usually make much better money but give a bad name to those of us who prefer to be honest. I have been hung up on many times because I would not tell someone what they wanted to hear. I have been cussed out because I refused to take responsibility for telling a client exactly what to do and what they wanted to hear.

There are many of us who do readings for a living and honor our true abilities. But, odds are, we are not making the money. Dear ol' Steve is the one in that big house with lots of nice cars and money to spend, while you and I earn a living that gets us from month to month. Is it fair? Well, Steve seems to think so. Am I a great psychic? I am just a human who chooses to use an ability she has had since childhood. I like helping others. I prefer just to listen and help the caller figure out his or her own life. But that's not how most callers like it.

Thank you again for your honesty about Miss Cleo and those who own the whole mess. I find it very interesting how humans forget to use common sense and realize there is no way Miss Cleo could answer every call. But that's human thinking.

But I was not aware of their billing process. I will begin to pass that information on to others. Yet, from what I have learned in the past about Steve, it is not surprising. Peace be with you always. Thank you again from many of us who could not work for those folks but have endured their problems having effects on what we do for others.

M. Brashear