Born-and-bred brain-drain dregs: One of Northeast Ohio's most enduring bad habits is its propensity for hiring born-and-bred locals, like Dennis Eckart, for big-ticket jobs ["Honey, I Shrunk the City!," August 13]. Despite all the hot air about "world-class" this and "world-class" that, the area does have a world-class inferiority complex that encourages the retention of the local bland, who suffer from terminal boredom.
Far better to hunt out someone like Sadhu Johnston who, being from another place, has a fresh and sharp perspective on the area's strengths and weaknesses. Don't hold your breath waiting for any beneficial change.
M. H. Deal
They check the hat size at the door: Kudos on "Honey I Shrunk the City." I have actively been involved in new-enterprise development for a number of years, and I have always been amazed at the absolute lack of direction and creativity emanating from the leadership of Cleveland. So much so that I actively campaigned for the "tech czar" spot for the City of Cleveland, where I was told my economic plans were too bold. I threw my hat into the ring to become executive director of Team NEO, but a board member told me they are looking for a national name, not a regional talent. This, despite the fact that a good young professional from this area could really make a great impact.
The homeless are free -- to live on the streets: It didn't surprise me that Cleveland wasn't on the National Coalition for the Homeless list of our land's "20 Meanest Cities" ["We're not mean," August 13]. But it did surprise me that San Francisco was.
As I understand it, the homeless problem began in the early '70s, when well-intentioned types insisted that authorities couldn't round up and shelter folk simply because they were considered less than sane and sapient. That seemed too much like what was done in the Soviet Union. Consequently, unfortunates are living in the streets.
Our culture of the underclass, as Charles Murray reflected in the National Review, is increasingly violent and bizarre, and engenders alienation. "As each new social experiment fails to diminish the size of the underclass," he wrote, "our increasing national wealth will make it possible to bypass the problem by treating the inner city as an urban analogue of the Indian reservation."
A big break for the bad guys: I just finished Kevin Hoffman's article "The Crime of Father McBride" [August 6]. When I read the last page, I got really angry. I can't believe these guys got off with two or three years probation for such crimes. Were they given such easy sentences because of their age? Are all these guys going to have to register with the local police as sexual predators? They knowingly paid minors for sex, provided alcohol and drugs to them -- and all they got was probation! What the hell? The ringleader was turning kids as if he were dealing cards, and he only got eight years in prison. What kind of message does this send to other sick bastards who have a sweet tooth for little boys?
I suppose this is something else to add to a long list of things about our society that I just don't understand.
More logic that's lost on laymen: In "The Crime of Father McBride," Kevin Hoffman's dynamite quote was McBride saying to Burkhart, "[Those priests] don't think it's a sin." How do those priests reason that it's not a sin? This attitude completely blows me away. What do they think celibacy -- the promise to be permanently chaste in thought, word, and deed -- means? If they don't agree with celibacy, why did they seek ordination? If they can't handle celibacy, why don't they leave the priesthood?
Some Kinda Party
Celebration, yes -- Rapture, no: As a born-and-bred Catholic, I had to read "Sisters of the Pour" [August 13] several times. I could not believe the quotes attributed to Father Phillip Racco. If indeed you quoted him correctly, he should be ashamed to have used God's name in vain. He apparently has forgotten one of the commandments.
As to the festival celebrating "the Rapture," this is totally wrong. The Feast of the Assumption recalls the assumption of the Blessed Virgin bodily into heaven. Catholics do not endorse the idea of the Rapture, wherein "all believers will be taken bodily into heaven prior to the 'end times.'" Perhaps the good Father was imbibing too much of the beer and wine that was certainly flowing at the feast.
Michael A. Lowrey
Bad Business Model
How not to get work: I read Erich Burnett's article "Runway to Nowhere" [August 20] on Trans Continental Talent Agency. My son was also duped into believing that he would obtain modeling work through this agency. I have tried repeatedly to talk to someone about refunding his money, but to no avail. No one seems to be able to help. The agency is misleading scores of people.
My son was approached at a mall and told he would make a perfect model. I think agencies such as this prey upon young people who are naive and trusting. Do you know of any groups of people who are signing petitions or participating in lawsuits against this agency?
Editor's note: All complaints about Trans Continental are being directed to the Florida Attorney General's office (866-966-7226).