By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
The Atrocity Exhibit
Re Sydney H. Schanberg's "When John Kerry's Courage Went M.I.A." [February 25-March 2]: Kerry's courage went M.I.A. the second he hopped in the political bed with the likes of Jane Fonda and the VVAW. His lack of ethics and character was demonstrated in such behavior as throwing someone else's medals over the White House fence and his testimony before Congress involving "atrocities" he had never actually seen but had "heard of." And this is who the Democrats want for commander in chief?
Sydney H. Schanberg's "When John Kerry's Courage Went M.I.A." [February 25-March 2] is outstanding. I can't tell you how grateful I am to see this article published. It has sickened me that I haven't heard more about this. Thank you so much for writing this article.
If not now . . .
I find the timing of Schanberg's article about John Kerry's courage going M.I.A. to be suspicious. Why did you not bring this ancient history up before the only worthwhile candidate suspended his campaign?
If you were going to tear down Kerry, it should have been done when people were searching for their candidate, not when they had already found him.
"When John Kerry's Courage Went M.I.A." hit the nail square on the head. This was the first article that I have read about Kerry that explains in detail his escapades regarding our P.O.W./M.I.A.'s. Thanks for putting pen to paper on this issue.
No fault of Nader
Re James Ridgeway's "Dems Call Ralph" [Mondo Washington, February 25-March 2]: I voted for Nader in the last election because nothing could have made me vote for any other candidate. I still resent having the Democrats tell me in no uncertain terms that it was my vote that put Bush in power. No, it was their selling out, their blandness, and their arrogant self-importance.
There are quite a few of us out there who are unhappy with both main parties. Blaming that on Nader is immature and hypo-critical at best.
The waffle truth
I found "Vote Kerry (or Edwards or Kucinich)" [February 25-March 2] quite interesting. You have no idea how many people I've met who say they believe in everything Dennis Kucinich stands for, but they're going to vote for Dean . . . or Clark . . . or Kerry. They were certain the first two were winners. Dean had the money; Clark had the epaulets. Just goes to show anybody can lose an election.
Now Kerry is supposed to have gravitas; Edwards was supposed to have sex appeal. Yeah, right. Both are inconsistent, middle-of-the-road wafflers. Kerry will crumble before the coming Republican media onslaught.
So in November when Bush Dukakis-izes Kerry, please remember these words (my apologies to Benjamin Franklin): "Those who sacrifice their principles for the prospect of winning deserve neither."
Flowers of Evil
Re Cynthia Cotts's "Pomp or Protest" [Press Clips, March 3-9]: It's odd that so many gov-ernment agencies foresee anger and anarchy on the streets during the imminent GOP occupation of our Democratic state. I could swear I heard Dick Cheney on a cable news network last week predicting that New Yorkers will greet conventioneers as liberators and welcome them with cheering crowds and fist-fuls of flowers, but maybe I'm propagandistically confused.
Gidone's mother speaks
Re Alice McQuillan's "Grand Jury's Out: Brooklyn D.A. Accused of Failing to Indict Cops Who Kill" [February 25-March 2]: I am pleased that McQuillan has taken up the issue of Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes's failure in numerous cases to get (or even try to get) indictments against police officers. Some significant facts left out of the article regarding the D.A. in the case of my son, Gidone Busch, killed in Borough Park August 30, 1999, are that the grand jury was convened within a week, without a complete investigation or presentation, even though there were more than six officers involved and numerous eyewitnesses. Jurors were never given "criminally negligent homicide" as an option to indict the officers.If the officers felt their lives were threatened, jurors were advised to exonerate them.
A crime scene photo was repeatedly shown that was taken after police moved the small hammer Gidone was holding when he was shot and fell close to a low wall of the adjacent house. It was seen lying right next to him by several people, including an EMS person, before it was moved all the way across the driveway. This was done to make it appear (falsely) that he was standing close to the officers when he was shot. Six officers testified that they feared for their lives. That an officer was seen firing by several people was covered up. Some witnesses later told the FBI and other investigators that their testimony was controlled by the prosecuting assistant D.A., Jay Shapiro, and they could not tell significant details of what happened when Gidone was shot, only answer limited questions. In spite of all the witnesses who said Gidone wasn't lunging, and was not a threat to the officers, the officers were never indicted. They felt the assistant D.A. wanted to exonerate the police, and that he did not question the witnesses in a neutral fashion to reveal the true facts. Also not mentioned were the shot to Gidone's back among the 12 bullets that struck him, and his fractured left femur, as well as the numerous contusions and abrasions on his body. Nor were the physical effects of pepper spray in his eyes and face fully described.
Now, after having lost a civil case, in which several jurors had family or friends who were, or were themselves, connected to the police, the family is being sued by the city for its legal costs, claiming the brutal pepper-spraying and killing of Gidone was "justified."
Goin' to the courthouse
Re "State to Church: I Want a Divorce" [March 3-9]: Thanks for saying it in the Voice, Alisa Solomon. I've been preaching this gospel (yeah, I'm a priest) for years nowpretty much since I got back from Europe, where in fact everybody has to get hitched at the courthouse before (or instead of) a religious ceremony. I even met a priest in Belgium who had been taken to court and fined one franc for performing a marriage for a couple from Spain who had missed the Friday deadline at the courthouse.
I absolutely believe that churches and other religious institutions should get unhitched from the state in every respect. Probably, that's the next initiative the churches themselves need to takeonce we get through pulling each other's hair out over our decision to bless gay and lesbian unions in the first place!
Alisa Solomon's article finally portrayed the view I have been waiting to see on the gay marriage issue. If marriage is considered to have a religious definition that excludes same-sex unions, then the union recognized for getting tax breaks and other benefits should not be called marriage.
I'm also glad to read someone who rejects the notion that Bush's statements are "pure election-year politics." I believe he honestly thinks that this is the right thing to do and that, understandably,
the issue needs to be addressed somehow despite all the other issues meriting attention these days. It needs attention, and I think Solomon presents the solution.
Charleston, West Virginia
I must admit to being disgusted by the whole debate over gay marriage, but not for the usual right-wing reasons. I'd like to know why gay people want to get married at all. With civil unions bringing all the needed legal rights and with thousands of years of crafting the finest true alternative/outlaw society this planet has ever known, with all the deaths, suffering, joys, and triumphs that were so hard fought, can it really be true that all gay people really wanted was to be like straight people? Raise kids? Get married in straight-looking ceremonies, with gowns and tuxedos?
The one group of people extant who could toss the stupid restrictions of all straight relationships right back into America's moribund face, and the goal is to be "accepted" and "tolerated" by straight society? What a massive disappointment! What next, gay NASCAR dads?
Church and state
Alisa Solomon brings up the point that I've been raising among friends and family for some time now. The arguments against gay marriage are all, ultimately, based on religious beliefs, and if the principle of separation of church and state were applied to the question of marriage, there'd be no legal distinction between marriage and civil union. And, as Solomon suggests, those couplesgay or straightwho want religious blessings for their unions could pursue that desire within their churches.
The personal touch
Thank you for Laura Conaway's "I'd Leave the Country, but My Wife Won't Let Me" [March 3-9]. I am pleased Conaway has decided to make her contributions to the Voice heartfelt and personal. No matter how intelligent or well-researched, an article cannot inform us about an issue unless it address the human element.
I want to thank you for your Laura Conaway's great article.
As lesbians in a binational relationship, my partner and I struggle with similar feelings every day. She is an American; I'm not. We have been together in this country for eight years, but we have to leave because immigration law doesn't consider us a family. There is nothing she can do to keep me hereshe has no rights at all. It breaks my heart to see her cry when she says that this is not the country she grew up in. She wants to leave the U.S., and we will. We hope to go to Canada, like so many other gay and lesbian binational couples trying to find a place that they can call home.
San Antonio, Texas
"I'd Leave the Country, But My Wife Won't Let Me" was a great article and I totally empathize with Laura Conaway. I too have wanted to move to Canada for many years. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as just going there. For the past 10 years I have tried virtually everything that would allow me to move, but it is next to impossible if you are from the U.S. and do not have a college degree (at the very least a B.A.). As a gay man, I feel much more welcome in Canada, but as a person who doesn't have the resources to finish college, I am shut out of Canada because of their class-oriented immigration system.
If you've got it, flautist
Re Francis Davis's Sidestage [March 3-9]: Davis has it right that James Moody has never been well recorded, but obviously he's never seen Moody play flute with Dizzy live in a quintet settingas good as it gets!
Re Michael Atkinson's article on British horror films ["Frighty Blighty: Mad Dogs, Razor Blades, and Englishmen," March 3-9]:
In 1991 I was on a month-long solo tour of the U.K., and spent my off days in the seaside town of Whitstable. One wintry afternoon I was out walking on the beach with my tour manager, when we spotted a lone spectral figure with a dog coming toward us out of the mist.
"That's Peter Cushing," whispered my companion. "He lives in a house down the beach."
As a longtime horror-film aficionado, I could scarcely contain my delight, and walked up and introduced myself. "Mr. Cushing, I'm a huge fan of your work."
He graciously shook my hand, then fixed his penetrating gaze on me: "And where do you hail from, young man?"
"I live in New York City," I replied.
"Ahhhh, New York!" Dr. Frankenstein smiled diabolically. "They have marvelous electricity there!"