Kudos to Nat Hentoff for joining Christopher Hitchens as one of the few on the left who have not sacrificed intellectual integrity and independence to worship at the altar of the expedient and empty careerist Clinton.
After fearlessly bombing an aspirin factory in Sudan and compounding the extended misery of countless civilians with his attacks on Iraq, this conservative Southern Democrat boldly announces his intention to resurrect the ridiculous (unless you're a defense contractor) pet project of Ronald Reagan Star Wars.
For this we dumped George Bush?
San Francisco, California
I appreciated the column by Nat Hentoff titled "The Trashing of Clinton's Women" [January 19]. I have always associated your publication with leftist ideologues, but a search of the Internet has revealed that you are the only present source on this. Truth is refreshing wherever it is found, especially in a sea of lies. I have new respect for your publication.
James T. Sullivan
Bridgewater, New Jersey
Spirit In The Sky
As a nuclear physicist who's been studying UFOs for 41 years and lecturing for 32 years at more than 600 colleges on the subject, it was a delight to see the rational, sensible article by Greg Sandow on the subject ['Mind-Body Problem," Mind/Body/ Spirit Supplement, February 2].
I have found in my talks that most people are willing to listen to factual information.
Stanton T. Friedman
Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada
Thank you for Greg Sandow's article on UFOs. It's nice, for a change, to read a UFO piece in a major publication by someone who actually has researched the subject. I hope Sandow's article will be reprinted in other forums.
Every Witch Way
I enjoyed Carole Linda Gonzalez's "Honoring the Earth Mother: Where To Find the Right Witch" [Mind/ Body/Spirit Supplement] on Paganism and Wicca in New York. It was gratifying to see something on this most ancient of faiths that did not misrepresent it as Satanism or debauchery. It is indeed a powerful, experiential, devotional faith. I too am a member of the Fellowship of Isis. I was ordained in 1995. The Fellowship is developing a strong presence in New York not only with Reverend Judy Olson's circle, which was mentioned in the article, but also with Iseum of the Star-Eyed Warrior/Lyceum Sothis Stardescending in Astoria, the circle which I run. It is important for people to realize that we are not evil; we are practicing a faith that emphasizes love and devotion to Deity. Thank you for the enlightening article.
Reverend Galina Krasskova
As a lineaged witch, I could not help but jump for joy at Carole Linda Gonzalez's positive and uplifting article. In this age, it's people like Ms. Gonzalez who facilitate understanding of our belief system by mainstream society. Too many people still stereotype pagans, witches, and followers of alternative religious paths as wicked and evil not the healers, naturalists, and spiritual leaders we really are. We are a positive religion, and Gonzalez did a fantastic job of getting that point across.
Thanks for the article by Carla Spartos on faith communities in the greater New York area ["Practical Piety: A Guide for the Perplexed," Mind/Body/ Spirit Supplement]. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (read: a Mormon), I particularly appreciated the evenhanded treatment of my church, and felt that such treatment seemed to be afforded to all of the faiths represented. Bravo! It takes backbone to write about religion and its many adherents as something other than a curiosity.
D. Christian Harrison
Down To Earth
Carla Spartos's information on the origin of the Roman Catholic Church in her article, "Practical Piety," is incorrect. During the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine I (307-337 A.D.), he adopted Christian belief and organized a state church. The Roman emperors in Constantinople had complete control over this church until the separation of Rome and Constantinople in 1054 A.D., when the Roman Catholic Church was created in Rome and the Eastern Orthodox Church was created in Constantinople. Jesus Christ did not organize the Roman Catholic Church, man did!
Carla Spartos's "Practical Piety" overview was interesting, but one oversight should be corrected i.e., listing the current worldwide Islamic population at 1.1 million. It is, of course, more like 1.1 billion.
Karen Houppert's discussion of contempt of cop ["Jailhouse Shock," February 2] was timely. I spent much of last year examining ethical conduct and civility by the Savannah police. I then helped train people who instruct officers in these areas. Police must have a high tolerance for verbal abuse, since they often deal with people in crisis.
While the focus is usually on what Houppert terms "how much abuse citizens are allowed" to give police, few look at the costs of not being civil. If we establish that you can demean officers in the name of free speech, we devalue the power of the police to use moral suasion and communication to deal with violent situations. We are already seeing incidences of police avoiding contact with certain communities because they feel they are not treated with respect or "nobody cooperates." This is a natural human reaction.
I've printed Karen Houppert's "Jailhouse Shock" from the Internet to share with my daughter, who is taking criminal justice courses at our local community college: How not to be a good cop. Thank you for staying on top of stories like this.
Santa Cruz, California
Sharon Lerner's depiction of health care at the Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center ["Clinic Depression," February 2] was a compelling and dramatic rendering of the scene at many community health centers throughout New York City and the entire state. As Lerner vividly demonstrates, it is a constant struggle for the dedicated people who staff and run these centers to provide adequate care to those in need.
If the New York State health care system is to move smoothly into the 21st century, policymakers and health care professionals will have to focus on the importance of community health centers and the work of people like Ulysses Kilgore III and Dr. Monica Sweeney at Bedford Stuyvesant. They and their colleagues at other centers perform a task that daunts most others: delivering care to anyone and everyone; working with patients on everything from domestic violence to nutrition; and, of course, treating patients humanely.
Health centers must remain committed to providing such service, and we must do everything possible to ensure they remain open and viable. But it will take some effort. Those policymakers who acknowledge the importance of health centers must convince those who don't that these centers are necessary, and that the people who use them do not deserve to be left behind by market-driven medicine.
Jeffrey A. Wise
Community Health Care
Association of New York State
Does Gary Dauphin know what happened to all those bearded men who came down from the hills in Cuba? Which ones were murdered when they questioned Fidel Castro's sudden change from liberator to dictator? In response to Strawberry and Chocolate's "gay/straight group hug," what about that AIDS community where HIV-positive people were forced to live, separated from their friends and family?
In a revolution that claims to promote freedom and democracy, why have thousands of Cubans desperately left the country in rafts made out of tires? And why are Cuban artists often thrown in prison when they express their opinions on what Dauphin describes as these "features of contemporary Cuban society"?
Cuban directors work with the material that is presented in Cuban cinema because it is the only subject matter with which they are permitted to work. It's called censorship. You either use prorevolution themes or you don't make art. This is just a little technicality that comes with living in a country run by a dictator.
I'd like to compliment Evelyn McDonnell on her assessment of Foxy Brown's new album, Chyna Doll ["Foxy on the Run," February 9]. McDonnell was able to articulate the fact that industry-driven hip-hop functions in much the same way that Hollywood movies do it serves to distract and prevent individuals from analyzing their social and economic conditions. People are so reluctant to relinquish their champagne wishes and caviar dreams that anyone who questions the merit of this material-based trash is called a playa hata. I like a lot of hip-hop, but it gets a little frustrating watching these pretty thugs go multi-platinum off selling the fantasy of wealth, position, and power when a lot of their fans can't afford to buy their CDs. It's no wonder so many young people get into trouble when the only models they have to emulate are people like Foxy Brown.
The most interesting thing about Michael Musto's column these days is his ambivalence about New York's gay elite. Between the bold type of each club opening or movie premiere, Musto spills more and more ink bitterly decrying the fey elite's shallow obsessions with money, the Aryan body type, and those soulless glitterati who prefer to remain in the closet instead of fighting for civil rights.
Despite his frustration with the scene, Musto still seems genuinely dedicated to queers and the fight for queer liberation. However, the question I always ask myself when I read his invective against the rich and shallow is: Why bother? By now it's glaringly obvious that the fabulous queers on the scene (i.e., those with money and/or beauty), are mostly interested in a few things: fucking without censure, living in luxury, passing for straight, and remaining beautiful for as long as possible. Oh, and of course generating enough cash flow to maintain the aforementioned lifestyle. Musto insists on positing these vapid individuals as thinking, responsible members of a queer community. Isn't he forgetting that the only people who can afford to go out clubbing in Chelsea these days are wealthy foreigners, designers, stylists, and trust -fund babies?
The reality is that no cohesive, politicized queer community exists, just a loose collection of groups delineated by class and ethnicity. It gives one pause to consider that those groups with the greatest buying power, and those who are most superficially appealing to the mainstream, have become the de facto queer community for the 21st century. What's really scary is the possibility that Musto may just be right maybe these same steroid-soaked zombies flapping their tits around Twilo are the new vanguard.
I am writing to correct an error in last week's Towers and Tenements column by J.A. Lobbia regarding my campaign for City Council.
I proposed construction of 1000 units of subsidized housing for those earning between $30,000 and $70,000 per year. I did not, as erroneously reported, propose 30,000 to 70,000 housing units.
Giddins Nominated For Critics' Award
Voice jazz critic Gary Giddins has been nominated for the Award in Criticism by the National Book Critics Circle for his book Visions of Jazz: The First Century (Oxford University Press).
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