Honor and handouts don't mix: I thank Scene for reminding us of the shameless history of the Forest City/Ratner/Miller coven of corruption and cronyism ["Gravy Train," December 3]. Their methods are startlingly simple: They make outrageously large contributions to their favorite politicians, who then return the favor with accommodations. In the old days, this type of arrangement had a simple name -- it was called bribery. In effect, they have bought their wealth at a bargain price.
Some weeks ago, The PD gave a "thumbs up" to Miller and a few wealthy cronies who made contributions to CSU. The article (to the credit of the writer) at least started out by noting, "notwithstanding their business ethics" (or words to that effect), and then went on to praise their generosity. In my philosophy, there's no room for a "notwithstanding" in that category. As I have told my children and now my grandchildren, one can always buy propriety, but one can never buy integrity.
Robert L. Lewis
A shorter name for organized money: Sarah Fenske's "Gravy Train" exposé was excellent. Fighting the status quo at any level of government takes courage, knowing that politics is nothing more than organized money. It's sad that censorship does thrive in America. For those of us who know how the game is really played, it's a constant battle of organizing people to fight organized money.
Read 'Em and Eat
Compliments to the critic: I enjoyed Elaine Cicora's review of Aroma ["Sweet Smell of Success," November 26]. After the high marks she gave the cuisine, I thought I'd try it, and again, I found myself agreeing with her thoughts.
Elaine Cicora is a very eloquent and informed critic. She has a flair for describing fine cuisine, to the point where readers want to try it for themselves. Yet she's been discriminating in criticizing restaurants, when it has been appropriate. Her column has opened my eyes to the wealth of excellent restaurants (i.e., non-chain food factories) we're fortunate to have here in Cleveland.
I heard the Plain Dealer critic on the radio a couple of weeks ago and was very unimpressed with his comments about the restaurants in Legacy Village. He basically said nothing of any substance. You have no competition, Elaine. Keep up the good work for those of us Clevelanders who are trying to find our area's best restaurants.
What Price Nice?
Diss Dennis, piss on peace: While I tend to agree that the Department of Peace sounds like a goofy idea ["Trophy Wife Politics," December 3], I have an even goofier idea. Let's have a department that gets unlimited taxpayer money -- say, $400 billion annually -- to shovel funds to private industry and threaten sovereign nations to kowtow to our corporate and political will, and to blow up and leave hordes of vengeful survivors. Now, that sounds much more productive!
Considering that our military expenditures are roughly equal to those of the rest of the world combined, a harmless little Department of Peace, even as a symbolic gesture, seems not quite so goofy and a lot cheaper to run.
Pete Kotz, do you tend to solve your own conflicts by brute force? Do you apologize when you've hurt someone? Do you gear up for battle only as a last resort? It's pretty lame to ridicule Kucinich's ideas while ignoring the facts behind them. The U.S. military-industrial state is out of control. Even the right wing is starting to get queasy.
Gary E. Goodman
Kucinich, man with a plan: I was disgusted with Pete Kotz's attack on Congressman Dennis Kucinich. If there's anything Kucinich is not, it's a phony. He has well-thought-out, intelligent, step-by-step plans to help the United States. He even has patience for people like you, who feel threatened by anyone trying to improve upon this country.
Hip priority deserves a leg up: What an idiotic article. I see an America with well-funded departments of Defense (i.e., war), State (i.e., covert operations), and Homeland Security (i.e., domestic surveillance). Establishing a Department of Peace would insert a new priority into the American psyche -- nonviolent negotiation as a means to resolve disputes.
The kind of cynicism displayed in Pete Kotz's article is so tired. Get with the 21st century, dude. Peace is hot. Peace is hip. Peace is the future.
Yep, J-school is the answer: Pete Kotz, you might improve your skills as a journalist if you enrolled in a serious school of journalism. Until then, try to do better than just spew out venom against Congressman Kucinich, whose political life has been devoted to working for the common good.
M. Leonor Jacquard
Los Angeles, CA
Fight and bleed and kill and die for liberty: I totally agree with Pete Kotz's article "Trophy Wife Politics." I mean, who needs a focus on peace, when you could go kill people without forethought? Hell, yeah!
Americans love blood and killing, right? And who cares that everyone else in the world hates us, wants to kill us, and thinks we are self-centered, ignorant bullies? We're sure to stay a superpower forever.
I wish more presidents were like Bush, studying Hitler and learning how a real man takes over the world through murder, suppression, blood, and patriotic lies. Poo on the Department of Peace. Rock on, hatred.
Sarah Sue Roberts
That's the spirit: All I can say about "Trophy Wife Politics" is that, unfortunately, we live in a time of upside-down thinking. To be peaceful is a sign of weakness, and to be a warmonger is construed as heroic. History will show Dennis Kucinich as being spiritually ahead of his time, and people like Pete Kotz will be known for what they are -- spiritually deficient!
Mary L. Tabatcher
It's the math that's a joke: Kotz's complete lack of knowledge about the Kucinich platform is obvious. For you to make a laughingstock out of his Department of Peace is completely outlandish. With the disastrous state of our country, let alone the entire world, it is utterly insane for you to make this out as a joke.
Kucinich's plan is to make nonviolence an organizing factor in society; to reduce domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, and gangs; to communicate and negotiate with other countries; to be an example to other countries by showing them how effective nonviolent solutions can be.
So Kotz wants to call this crazy? That's actually the scary part!
Robin Rae Swanson
Los Angeles, CA
Somebody call the peace department: In response to Frederick Dewey's letter, November 26: Jimi Izrael's article "Booty Queens" [October 29] uncovered a talent-search scam. Did you read it, or were you just looking for an article about black women to give you a platform to share your views? While I applaud Scene for both the article and for printing your letter, I am amazed that you manage to exist in this society.
Your letter reveals you to be an ignorant, simple-minded cretin, and I simply cannot contemplate you getting any attention from any women, even "salt-and-pepper or just plain white trash."
To quote you: "Now maybe I would meet a black woman at a dance or nightclub and slow-dance or ballroom-dance, cheek-to-cheek, but not groping all over her like a good beer." Your white lovers must adore being held like an ice-cold Natural Light can.
I'm glad to know that if you "were president, [you] would ship all blacks, Cubans, Vietnamese, Colombians, and Jamaicans back to their own countries." Thank you for such an idiotic statement. It needs no rebuttal.
Although you "do go along with some of their ideas," you wouldn't be able to join the Ku Klux Klan. You think "Mexicans and Puerto Ricans -- most of them are all right." The Klan hates all minorities, silly boy!
Freddy, you are shockingly small-minded, and you should not speak for those minds larger than yours.