After reading Mara Altman's heartbreaking story of Roberto Reyes Jr. ['Raising Roberto (Again),' March 28–April 3], I have a few words for our leader: Dear President Bush, fuck you.
Jon Simon
via e-mail

In 'All Wet' [March 21–27], Wayne Barrett claims that mayor Bloomberg "offered no specifics about how the city was moving to protect itself from climate change." Let me be the first to contradict this claim. On March 14, the mayor demonstrated that he is concerned with his own integrity on plaNYC. During a bill signing ceremony, Bloomberg heard out seven members of the pedicab industry who apparently caused a splash with the mayor as he decided not to sign the pedicab death sentence, a/k/a Intro 331-A, the proposed regulation/strangulation bill passed by the City Council. Instead the mayor stated, "I want to think about it." I witnessed democracy at its finest and learned that any citizen can speak directly to our mayor and possibly influence policy. However, I concur with Barrett when he says, "Warming may endanger Doctoroff's legacy quickly." My advice to Doctoroff: Jump on the boat with Bloomberg and support pedicabs so your 2030 plan can become a reality. Pedicabs can help sustain our future, our city, and our livelihood.
Melissa von Ludwig
via e-mail

Today I broke a decade-long tradition: I picked up a copy of The Village Voice and read it. Ten years ago, I decided that a newspaper dedicated to porn classifieds, bad music reviews, and the blathering of a repugnant gossip columnist was simply a waste of time. Stuck and bored on the uptown 4 train, I acquiesced a discarded Voice. As I suspected, nothing had changed over the past 10 years except there's a new "funnies" section that had me laughing from Union Square to 34th Street. Nat Hentoff's 'Ghost Prisons, Ghost Courtrooms' [March 28–April 3] was a hilarious take on the way the CIA interrogates perpetrators of terrorism. Stand-up comedy never got me rolling like this piece of slapstick. I'm surprised I got through it with all the knee-slapping and eye-drying. I didn't realize it was a serious piece until I read the surprisingly somber questions in the last sentence: ". . . what of all the other CIA ghost prisoners? Who are they? Where are they? What was done to them all these years? How have they been disposed of?" Oh Nat, lighten up. Don't you know that most Americans know the answer to those questions? Here it is: We don't care.
Justin D.

Why was Tristan Taormino's 'Hard to Swallow' [Hot Spot, March 1–7] billed as "the debate surrounding choking as a sexual practice"? Having censored a factual rebuttal by editorial decree, the Voice gave Taormino the floor for an outright sales pitch for abusive behavior that has more victims than Taormino and her commercial colleagues would ever admit. The photo accompanying the article showing a shrink-wrapped, stripped woman under the aggressive control of a fully clothed man said it all. Calling it a pose or a game can't erase the fact that the dehumanized woman was real.
Twiss Butler
via e-mail

Tristan Taormino replies: I'm not sure where your facts are coming from. Consensual BDSM play is not "abusive behavior." And Mika Tan, the woman pictured, is not "under the aggressive control" of anyone.

Re: Tricia Romano's 'In Defense of Ultragrrrl' [March 14–20]: Sarah is a magnet. You could call it luck, but when a person is so passionate about something, it comes through in who they are. She is completely real, and she raves about whom she loves because they are her family and friends. She is surrounded by really creative people, and you can sense that energy. People want what she has. Obviously, our culture is celebrity obsessed. A lot of people think that the reason that certain people are "famous" is because they are beautiful or lucky, but it's usually that they have simply been blessed with a lot of talent. Sarah is good at picking out bands that will be popular. They might not always be your top choice of what should be played on the radio, but that is beside the point. She is doing what she loves and making it happen.
Leah Connolly
St. petersburg, florida

In 'Journey from the Fall' [March 21–27], Scott Foundas noted that the dialogue and inspirationalism in Ham Tran's film, "feels decidedly old-fashioned and finally, even phony." Obviously, Foundas has not experienced what most South Vietnamese had to endure after the annihilation of South Vietnam by Communist forces some 32 years ago. Most likely, Foundas was never a boat person forced to leave his homeland in search of freedom. If he were, he would know that there was nothing phony about the film. One could say that the movie is the first film that truly records the story of more than 1 million Vietnamese refugees in America. Perhaps that's why Foundas, presumably a white man, could not understand nor appreciate our reality. After all, it's not from his perspective or his white world. But, thank Buddha, finally there's a film about Vietnamese by Vietnamese. Maybe that's why so many tears were shed.
Hoi Trinh
Garden Grove, California

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