Nandalal Rasiah
Richmond, Virginia

No Ploy Intended

I am writing in response to James Ridgeway's "Black Sea Intrigue" [Mondo Washington, December 1-7]. Ridgeway is making a serious error in judgment by drawing the conclusion that Ukraine's fight for democracy and a fair election is a neocon ploy. I agree with Ridgeway's views on Iraq and other right-wing agendas. However, the situation in Ukraine is about 48 million people who deserve to determine their own future, without the U.S. and Russia's $100-million-plus interference.

Tatiana Lysynecky

Jeb for Prez

I am wondering why James Ridgeway's "A Heartbeat Away" [November 24-30], about a possible successor to Cheney, left out the prez's own brother. Notwithstanding a charge of nepotism, Jeb has the experience and credibility that comes with being the governor of a large state. He has only two years left as governor and would give the Bushies a chance for another eight years at the trough. Is it possible that he isn't conservative enough for his brother?

Mark Hayden
Mashpee, Massachusetts

Akintade the Good

I just finished reading Kareem Fahim's "Iraq's Gravity Pulls a Soldier Down" [December 1-7], on Specialist Akintade. (I was told by my girlfriend that you did a story on him.) Akintade was in my squad, and in my old company, B Company 1/105th, before we got called up. He was one of the best human beings that I've had the chance to know. Part of the time while we were deployed, I was his squad leader. Even though we were both specialists, he gave me no conflict. I mean, he was a guy you could get mad at, but it wasn't anger; it was that he was so playful it annoyed you sometimes, but you loved him always.

He will definitely be missed. I want to thank your paper for doing a good story on him; there have been other stories, but I wasn't pleased with them. This captured the essence of the man the best. I have always been a reader of the paper, and I will continue to be one. Thank you.

Specialist David James
Alpha Company 2/108 Infantry

Grand Illusion

Wayne Barrett ["On a New High, Sharpton Hits a New Low," December 8-14] says Sharpton has hit a "new low." What could be worse than having engineered the mother of all race hoaxes, and having the blood of the seven victims of the Harlem Massacre on one's hands?

Nicholas Stix
Belle Harbor, Queens

Picture Perfect

Re Anya Kamenetz's "Social Insecurity" [Generation Debt, December 1-7]: The photo caption in this story speaks volumes about what is wrong with this country: "Bleak horizon: If the government can't protect your parents, you get to make up the shortfall." It was not all that long ago that most people expected to help take care of their parents first, and only looked to the government for help as a last resort. While there is no doubt that soaring personal debt is a serious problem and a contributing factor to retirement worries, using the "Jacob Hall" example will hardly evoke sympathy from most hardworking people. Who paid for Jacob's "prestigious university" education? If his parents are now in serious financial trouble from having subsidized his education, he should stop whining about having to finally start paying his parents back! Why should the government (which is funded by people who actually work) have to foot the bill because Jacob wants to continue being a student and his parents have made bad choices?

Judie Szydlowski
Warrenville, Illinois

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