Thanks to Joy Press for pointing out the growing number of people concerned about how their food is grown or raised ["Feeding Frenzy," March 26]. The Centers for Disease Control, as well as the World Health Organization, have linked the use of animal antibiotics, which are often the same as or very similar to drugs used in human medicine, to rising numbers of people contracting illnesses caused by drug-resistant bacteria. Ultimately, this undercuts the effectiveness of human medicines.
However, contrary to the point made by Marion Nestle of NYU that "I can't think of a single industry in the U.S. that would be better off if people ate healthily," the insurance industry has a direct incentive for limiting the abuse of antibiotics in food animals. The rising cost of treating antibiotic-resistant infections, including those acquired from contaminated food, probably costs them billions each year.
David Wallinga, M.D.
Joy Press's article "Feeding Frenzy" clearly expresses the need to educate people about cooking healthy foods at home. As a culinary student in Paris, I know many young people who cook at home. I believe it's mainly lack of patience and culinary knowledge that prevents Americans from utilizing their All-Clad saucepans. Unfortunately, most shows on the U.S. Food Network appeal only to gourmands and older women desperately waiting to get a glimpse of The Naked Chef. Let's teach youth basic food preparation in an entertaining way before we inundate them with Emeril's lemon-scented boar chops with fresh chanterelle and fava bean ragout.
Great article by Joy Press. But I'd prefer the best of both worlds. I like the dynamic of Slow Food proponents engaging the fast-food model and possibly generating alternatives. It reminds me that the world is not static, and even behaviors that seem locked in are in fact malleable. Vive la différence!
HOMELESSNESS IN THE BRONX
Re Tom Robbins's article "Where in the World Is Jose Rivera?" [March 19]: Lack of residence is a pervasive issue among Bronx politicians. However, more interesting is that there is no enforcement action on the part of the Bronx D.A. The only other recent investigations on residence that have been written about are those of Israel Ruiz and Pedro Espada. Is it a coincidence that they are both opponents of the Bronx machine?
Currently, the only investigation into political corruption of machine politicians is being pursued by the New York County D.A.
HENTOFF'S HARD CELL
I generally have a lot of respect for Nat Hentoff, but I don't understand why, in explaining why the truly odious Officer Charles Schwarz deserves another trial in the Abner Louima case, he tries to paint Schwarz as a hapless victim ["The Wrong Man Gets a Second Chance," March 19; "Schwarz: Justice or Technicalities?" March 26].
At the very least, Schwarz lied to investigators to protect the people who viciously assaulted Louima. Also, Schwarz did have a radio in what Hentoff heartbreakingly refers to as "the silence of his days and nights" in his prison cell.
I read about it in Cindy Adams's interview with Schwarz and his family in the New York Post. I guess maybe I was mistaken to assume that Hentoff has higher journalistic standards than Cindy Adams.
Nat Hentoff replies: Even the "truly odious" are entitled to due process and effective assistance of counsel. Schwarz had neither at his first trial. He has not been proved to have lied to anyone and remains entitled to a presumption of innocence in his new trial. In solitary confinement, he seldom had a radio.
NO, NO, 'NANNETTE'
Chisun Lee's article "Revolt of the Nannies" [March 19] drew much needed attention to the exploitative conditions of domestic workers in New York. Like many immigrant workers, domestic workers often toil in abusive conditions, thus enabling others to live in comfort. Because these women work in isolation, organizing efforts are essential. And despite the common misperception that they somehow fall outside the protections of employment laws, domestic workers have the right, regardless of their immigration status, to earn at least the minimum wageand they are covered by overtime laws.
Jim Williams, Executive Director
National Employment Law Project
YUGO YOUR WAY
Jessica Winter's review of two films about the Yugoslav war is very telling about her own priorities and knowledge ["The Atrocity Exhibit," March 19]: She spends about twice as much energy and film-critic angst on the fictional, Hollywoodized Harrison's Flowers as she does on an independent documentary, Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War, which features interviews with prominent foreign-policy personalities involved in the conflict and was done on a shoestring budget.
Winter's understanding of the war is simply an echo of the U.S. corporate media. Her opening statement that "the wars of secession in Yugoslavia initially met with international bemusement" is infuriating in light of the fact that in 1988 the IMF pushed Yugoslavia's National Bank to recentralize (a move not very popular with the Slovenes or Croats), or that before the war Germany overrode the European community's recommendation not to recognize any Yugoslav republic unilaterally as it would lead to war.
Seeing Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War will inform one a bit about how the German and British secret services, along with the CIA and U.S. mercenary organizations, operate in foreign countries.
Ms. Winter: Almost anywhere in Europe other than Albania, Britain, Croatia, or Bosnia, you'll find different attitudes about U.S. foreign policy. Try Macedonia, for example, where the U.S./NATO/Al Qaeda-backed KLA/ NLA is warring with the U.S./NATO-backed Macedonian government. Or try reading something other than The New York Times or Time magazine or getting your news from other sources than the BBC.
Jessica Winter replies: The examples of IMF and German engagement in Yugoslavia Piletic cites predate the wars of secession and therefore predate any international reaction to them. The film's "prominent foreign-policy personalities" are certainly well-represented in the U.S. corporate media. Piletic's other comments relate only tangentially to my piece or to the film itself, which trivializes the suffering of Bosnian Muslims and Kosovar Albanians.
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