Don't blame them for accepting a no-bid offer: Regarding Trevor Aaronson's article on Blackwater 63 and the war, his questioning of no-bid contracts for $24 million is misdirected ("Err America," October 27). Blackwater provided a service that the Department of Defense could not or would not do.
Hiring former soldiers to work in a war zone making more money in three days than their counterparts in the military make in a month is the real world. We have an Army that cannot meet its commitments. We have an administration that blatantly favors contributors to political parties with outlandish no-bid contracts. Our government is willing to pay private companies thousands of dollars per day for soldiers/mercenaries while cutting back on support for our military. Blackwater is a symptom of what is wrong in this country. Wealth and power are more important than human lives. A military understaffed and overdeployed and you want to blame Blackwater. Blame those who have caused this problem: the Bush administration, VP Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, et al. You are conveniently blaming the messenger, not the message.
Silly, irresponsible hurricane victims: Maybe I am nuts, but when people move to Florida, how can they not understand there is the potential for a hurricane somewhere in their future ("Category Two Much," October 27)?
Guess we in the northern lands have not learned how to whine and get the government to come in and warm our hands during a three-day blizzard with 90-mile-per-hour winds and no power, no water, etc. As you seem to enjoy blaming President Bush for your condition, I am going to begin insisting that whenever it snows, FEMA run to the Dakotas with hot chocolate, wood-burning stoves (complete with cut wood), and extra blankets.
Maybe it's time we learned something called personal responsibility!
Yankton, South Dakota
Can't wait to critique you: I would concern myself with John Anderson's review of my film, Strike the Tent, but I should first look at the review for what it is worth ("As a Screwup, He's Topnotch," October 27). I might classify it simply as "local" or "provincial," but I will strive to reach beyond that. I know nothing of Anderson's work, so there is little to discuss on that topic. New Times heralds itself as "alternative," and that may explain something. I have been on the receiving end of good reviews of the film thus far (eight awards at as many festivals), and yours is the first negative review.
Whether you think my acting is "flat" or "nonexistent" is of no matter, as it is your opinion. What I would point to is this: If you fail to see that the film conveys a passion and deep commitment to the human drama, there is nothing to help you.
When you do something with your life that is worth reviewing, I will be sure to comment on it.
College of Soft Knocks
Time for Diablo to drop the pose: Upon reading the article about Derek Funt, a.k.a. Diablo (though I refuse to call him that what a joke!), I found myself giggling out loud through most of it ("Smile for the Devil," Sam Eifling, October 6). I have known him practically our whole lives. I think the most laughable part was how the story makes it sound as if Derek's upbringing was hard, raised tough or something. He grew up with me, in the nice area of Pembroke Pines. It wasn't the neighborhood where kids made other kids beat each other up at the age of 5. He ran in the same circle with me, and I will say, numerous times got his butt kicked due to his exaggerated way of running off at the mouth.
The "recent" ex-girlfriend who left him is Samantha, and I'm so glad she did. Can you imagine sitting around with someone at the age of 31 and going, "Um, didn't we sit around, drink, watch Sid & Nancy, and think fights were cool at 15?" I am happy to say that 98 percent of us who ran around thinking that was cool and that the system was against just us have since grown up to be productive people in society, with only 20 percent of our craziness still there. The other 2 percent... well, they give half-true interviews to reporters, have died, or are in jail. He just uses it as an excuse not to grow up.
Where is the truth of Derek Funt in that story, and why is he still trying to prove himself?
Sarah (last name withheld on request)
Fire the Messenger
DeFede's got a case: Regarding Chuck Strouse's September 15 column, "The Agony of DeFede": The Florida State Attorney's Office has exonerated Jim DeFede. And rightfully so. I believe that the Miami Herald was motivated to fire him and that this Teele taping event was simply the perfect excuse to do so. I believe that DeFede will have an excellent case against Knight Ridder for a major lawsuit. I believe that Knight Ridder will end up paying big bucks to DeFede in an out-of-court settlement. I wonder when the public will get to know what was in the package left to DeFede by Teele. I bet the Herald will exploit the contents of that package with a front-page story. And shamefully so.
Harry Emilio Gottlieb