LACK OF BOOKING IS JUDGED BY ITS COVER-UP
Re Nat Hentoff's "Bush's Vanished Prisoner" [October 15-21]:
The reason that Jose Padilla has been held incommunicado with no charges filed is quite clear. It's not that his "crime" is so heinous, nor that he possesses some dreadful, secret, valuable information. It's simply that the government's case is so lame and stupid that the whole thing is an embarrassment.
I held a security clearance in the '60s and have worked for the federal government for many years. I can assure you that secrecy is used to cover up stupidity and incompetence more than for any other reason.
QUOTES GONE WILD
Re "Bush's Vanished Prisoner":
It's obvious that Bush is only floating a "trial balloon" to see what kind of "flak" he receives from American citizens. Because he is not getting much "flak," it will not be long until what he has done to "Padilla" will be an "established principle" so it can be done to anyone, for any reason. Rule by "Constitution" is long gone from the United States.
Joe B. Gustafson
SHIP OF FOOLS
Sydney H. Schanberg gets the story just right ["The Widening Crusade," October 15-21]. Cheney and his neocon minions are indeed armchair geostrategists who have sought to press America's military advantage to extremes ever since the end of the Cold War. But the story doesn't end there. This arrogant, reckless overreaching is rapidly producing not only an Angry Left, but an Angry Right as well, who recognize, as Cheney and company do not, the crucial ways a strong economy figures in America's overall security; what's more, many on the right now recognize that there's no end to the neocons' tax-cut and defense-spending ambitions.
Rather than stand by while the U.S. economy is driven into the ground, I believe important sections of Bush's erstwhile constituency will peel away before the next election. We should all pray they jump before the entire ship of state founders!
IS THERE A DOCTRINE IN THE HOUSE?
Bush has already told us his doctrine in no uncertain terms. In case you haven't heard, we are at war, and half measures do not work with terrorists. "The Widening Crusade" is foolish and naive.
New Haven, Connecticut
"The Widening Crusade" was a very intelligent, truthful piece on the state of the nation. This is information that should appear in the mainstream news on a daily basis. As Blackie Lawless once said, "I love my country, but I'm scared to death of its government." Thanks for sticking out your neck and doing what's right. If there were more people like you and less of the spellbound sheep that can't see beyond the end of their noses, we wouldn't be in this deplorable situation.
Having worked at the Whitney Museum during the Max Anderson years, I was saddened by how glibly Jerry Saltz took to task the former Whitney director's failings, without placing certain outcomes in a greater context ["At the Crossroads," October 1-7]. His critique of the "hapless" Anderson seemed personal, although it was coyly shielded under the critic's cloak of simply pointing out bad art and poor hiring. First, Saltz lays fundamental blame for the Whitney's troubles on its "meddling trustees," yet he surprisingly glosses over the startling power wielded by billionaire chairman Leonard Lauder. More than with Anderson and curator Marla Prather, responsibility for exhibiting Robert Rauschenberg's "Synapsis Shuffle" ("perhaps the worst museum show ever of a great artist") would seem to lie with Lauder, who purchased and gifted the hokey and uninspiring work consisting of 52 different panels meant to be reassembled by different people each time it is installed in the Whitney.
Saltz's insight into board dynamics is also confusing. He suggests that 10 trustees of the Whitney step down because a board with 39 trustees is too large, and then subsequently advocates that the museum should appoint three or four energetic mid-career artists, pushing the number back up to 33. But he makes no mention of how much money the Whitney may lose by shrinking the board. And he fails to raise a possibly more practical solution: term limits for board members.
Saltz also indicts or omits a few of Anderson's unmitigated accomplishments. He derides the nomenclature of Anderson's "curatorial portfolio" approach, while not ac- knowledging that it has given more shape to the Whitney collection and more ownership to the Whitney curators. Finally, he fails to mention Anderson's push for conservation. With Anderson's scoring director of conservation Carol Mancusi Ungaro from the Menil Collection and raising more than $5 million in funds, for the first time in its history the Whitney boasts a conservation department. Now it can conserve all those works that Saltz and his critic buddies love to trash.
Jerry Saltz replies: Villari's letter is so skewed and sour that nothing he wrote really warrants a response, except to say that I have never met Maxwell Anderson.
THE MAN SHOW
I just wanted to send my deep appreciation for Goldstein's article on the "Politics of Groping" [October 15-21].
It's refreshing to see a man care enough to take on an issue that affects women and call out such behavior for what it is: a degrading act of machismo. Sadly, many people readily dismiss articles on women's issues when the writer is a woman and suspected feminist. Kudos for pointing out the destructive male logic behind groping.
Re Grace Bastidas's "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" [Liquid City, September 24-30]:
How dare Bastidas refer to Long Island City as "once desolate and industrial"? I have lived here in Hunterspoint for 53 years and have only known this to be a warm, safe, and pleasant area to live in. It was one of New York's best-kept secrets until we were infiltrated by all the newcomers in Citylights and Avalon Riverview. It's time to stop the disparaging remarks and realize that the new residents are just adding to what was already a great place to live.
Gennaro D. Massaro
Hunterspoint, Long Island City
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