Letters

Candidate With Destiny

I am a Republican, and I appreciate all your efforts to uncover the real story behind John McCain ("Haunted by Spirits," John Dougherty and Amy Silverman, February 17). I am sending your article to everyone I know. I appreciate that not everyone in journalism is so politically slanted that they cannot report the truth even if it is sitting in the chair next to them.

Please keep up your good investigative reporting. Woodward and Bernstein have nothing on Dougherty and Silverman!

Do you worry about your car blowing up?

Susan Lewis
Raleigh, North Carolina

Gosh, how unlikely. A man's father-in-law contributes to his political campaigns. The amount of money contributed doesn't seem to be excessive and McCain has largely avoided being involved with alcohol legislation. So why do we need federal involvement with another business that sells a legal product? All the early bootlegging seems to be related to state and federal laws that attempted to retain Prohibition-era controls on the liquor business. It just doesn't look like there is any "there" there, in regard to McCain.

Paul Garrison
Greybull, Wyoming

Just wanted to thank Dougherty and Silverman for an excellent piece on Senator McCain. Although it is unfortunate that the major media outlets seem to ignore these matters, it is good to see that someone is informing the public about McCain's full family history.

Christopher Telschow
via Internet

I infer from your article that the activities of John McCain's father-in-law in the 1940s are somehow considered relevant to a discussion of the senator's current political posture with respect to liquor. Such being the case, I assume that the activities during this same time period of his political adversaries on this subject would be considered even more relevant.

Consider Senator Strom Thurmond, whose proposed anti-alcohol legislation you cite with approval. In 1948, he ran for president on a platform of white supremacy. What about Thurmond's neo-Prohibitionist ally, Senator Robert Byrd? In the 1940s, he was a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan.

If you're going to smear the liquor industry with allegations that are more than a half-century old, surely it's fair to report what the bigots on the other side were doing at the same time.

Tom Schlafly, president
The Saint Louis Brewery
St. Louis, Missouri

To paraphrase the inspector in Casablanca, I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED to find out somewhere in the extended family lineage of a powerful politician is a crook with his own interests at heart.

The plot: A wealthy old bootlegger with extensive political and criminal connections connives, wheels and deals to have a member of his family elected to the highest office in the land. The Joe Kennedy story? Ah, no, ah, McCain's father-in-law, James Hensley. Trust me, by "Old Joe Standards," these guys are a bunch of cowboys who can't shoot straight. As a matter of fact, Old Joe was not only a crook, he even double-crossed the crooks (Sam Giancana) in getting his son elected. I guess that makes him a "Crook to the Second Power," or squared, to use some high-tech vernacular.

The real story about John McCain that everyone from New Timesto Rush Limbaugh is missing is that he is masterfully using Billy the Kidder Clinton's playbook. He positions himself in the center, smiles and jokes, seduces the press, and says whatever is necessary to get elected, drawing fire from both sides. But unlike Clinton, who gravitated to the left after the election, you know that old John will end up moving toward the right. Now that's when you journalists are really going to be pissed off, after getting gooned once again.

Watch out, President McCain. Hell hath no fury like liberals scorned.

Tom Stitt
Scottsdale

Soldiers' Story

Edward Lebow's monograph on Jimmy Creasman's World War II correspondence is a fine piece of journalism, well organized and illustrated ("Words of War," February 3 and 10). Creasman remained in the Army Reserve until 1957. In 1955, I succeeded him as commander of Company A, 59th Infantry Regiment, headquartered at Papago Park. The regiment -- largest of the U.S. Army Reserve in Arizona -- was commanded at that time by Lieutenant Colonel Burton S. Barr, who was subsequently promoted to colonel. Upon military retirement, Barr turned his attention to politics.

Jimmy rode with me to and from summer training at Camp Roberts, California, in 1956 and recounted some of the experiences he had had in Europe. Lebow wove the letters Creasman wrote about that episode into a great story.

Lloyd Clark
Phoenix

Ed Lebow did a fine job writing the two stories about Arizona soldiers Jimmy Creasman and David Murdock, who served in the U.S. Army in Europe in World War II. Thank you for publishing them. Their stories were very touching and very interesting. War is a great evil. It wastes so many people and so much effort while at the same time, some people are perversely able to profit from it. I am 42 and I think people my age often forget all the sacrifices that earlier generations made for us. Thank you for reminding us. This election year, let's work to elect politicians who will be wise enough to prevent war by working hard to build a just peace in this troubled world of ours.

Michael T. Bradley
Scottsdale

Oh, what memories your issue of February 3 brought back to me! When I picked up a copy, I glanced at the photo on the cover. I thought that the individual was vaguely familiar to me, although I could not make any definite connection. However, when I got to page 19 and saw the photograph there, I immediately knew who the person on the cover was and remembered the impact that he had on my life many years ago.

I was a freshman at Tolleson Union High School in the fall of 1936. David Murdock had received his master's degree in music from the University of Arizona in the spring of 1936 and began his teaching career at Tolleson that fall.

David was not only a very accomplished pianist and composer, but he could also play just about any kind of musical instrument. David taught me how to play the trombone, and I played in the school band a couple of years under his direction. In addition to teaching students how to play various instruments, David also taught singing in what was called "glee club" back then. David also directed the musical portion of several operettas that were performed at Tolleson High while he was there.

Much of what I now know about music, I learned from David Murdock. For that I am most grateful. David was a wonderful individual and I consider myself very fortunate to have been acquainted with him.

One of the very first things that David did when he came to Tolleson was to compose both the words and music to a TUHS "fight song." To my knowledge, this was the very first such song in the history of the school. David also taught some tumbling and gymnastic classes and served as coach of the girls' tennis teams.

I believe that David left Tolleson in 1938 and went to Glendale Union High School, where he taught until World War II came along. The story in your paper then followed his Army career from the time that he was drafted until he was killed in the Sicily campaign in 1943.

After graduating from Tolleson Union High School in 1940, I attended the University of Arizona for two years. I then joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 and served both as an enlisted man and an officer.

I was one of the lucky ones who went through World War II without seeing any actual combat duty. As your story so dramatically recounts, David Murdock went through a lot of combat and paid the ultimate price by giving his life for our country. It is to him and to thousands of others like him that we all owe a sincere debt of gratitude.

Thank you so very much for your wonderful story that reminded me of the part that David Murdock had in my life.

Wallis T. Fleming
Glendale

I just finished reading your feature story on David Murdock. I would like to congratulate you on what I consider to be a masterful job.

You have succeeded in capturing the true feelings of the infantry combat soldier, feelings that only we who have been there really understand: In the beginning, the apprehension, not so much fear of death as fear that we may not measure up, the determination to make our loved ones proud of us. Then the exultation of finding out that we really can do the job and do it well. The fellowship, the esprit de corps, the confusion of battle, our manly pride, our patriotism, our concern for what the folks back home will think of us, and through it all, the terrible and ever-present loneliness and homesickness for home and our loved ones.

The second article in the series, on Jimmy Creasman, was especially meaningful to me, because the route he describes through southern France, the Rhone Valley, Alsace and Worms, Dachau and Berchtesgaden is the same one we of the 7th Infantry fought for earlier. I found it to be deadly accurate, extremely well-written, and it stirred many memories.

On behalf of all combat veterans, I thank you for telling our story so well.

Russ Cloer
via Internet

Best Friend

I thought that if a person has a companion pet, that legally, that individual had to be accepted anywhere he wanted to live as long as he indicated that the pet was prescribed ("Pet Peeve," Laura Laughlin, February 10). Is there anything I can do or anywhere I could send a few dollars to help this man and his pet stay together? I am a dog owner, and I have grown very attached to my dog, Daisy. I know I could not live without her, as weird as that sounds, it is true. I know I would die without my dog.

Greg Kokines
Tempe

Thin Lizzy

First of all, where the hell are your Trashman articles? For the past two months, I have been waiting for a decent article in the music section, and seeing as no one else is up to the task, where is Bill Blake? I don't know if the last article I saw was serious, about some girlfriend cheating on him, but that is not a reason to stop writing.

Okay, with that taken care of, what the hell are you thinking with Liz Montalbano and her retarded article about a hypocritical band ("On the Dark Side," February 10)? The article starts off with how members of this band Death Takes a Holiday are all great guys, and then makes some reference to a Phoenix band trying to be the next big thing. The fellas from Death Takes a Holiday are appalled about how some other paper devoted an entire story to how an unnamed band is marketing itself and didn't even talk about its music. "The subject of 'artists' whoring themselves to the music industry strikes a serious chord with [DTAH singer Pete] Hinz." It dawned on me, as this lame article came to a close, that Hinz was so angry because the article dealt with nothing on the music end of the spectrum and only how the band wants to be perceived. I don't know if it was Montalbano's intention to make these poseurs look stupid, but her whole article described how Death Takes a Holiday is all about its music, which did little to explain their sound, except for one cookie-cutter description about being "arty punk/pop" and a few lame comparisons to the Pixies and how they don't sound like Limp Bizkit. This acted as a guide to some uncared-about band's stale, has-been politics. Everybody knows the "music biz" is about selling out, and it makes me sick to hear the same shit from these middle-aged, would-be rock stars. (You know if they got offered a million dollars for their next recording, they would grab it). This shit about how no bands want to write good songs now. If you are just listening to the radio all day, you are hearing Ricky Martin and Backstreet Boys.

So that whole, nobody-wants-to-write-good-songs bullshit was just all stupid. "There's just no soul in fucking music anymore -- it's pathetic." No, you are pathetic, Liz, for writing it, and Rich VanSyckel is stupid for thinking it, and annoying for saying it.

Then Hinz goes on to talk about the underground scene being dead. If Death Takes a Holiday is considered "underground" or "indie rock," then well said. But anyone who champions Michael Stipe as a hero has no clue as to what the underground scene should look like, anyway.

Pete Hinz and company need to stop listening to anything to the right of 91.5 on the radio dial, and not only shut up, but stop playing if all they are going to do is perpetuate lame politics and lame music and take up space in venues where people could be getting drunk.

New Timeshas an incredible opportunity to inform the average human about what else is out there, and you should utilize your space not only for good writers but also bands who are going to say something worthwhile, or, at the very least, keep their boring comments to themselves. At least Trashman was entertaining even if he only stuck with the tried and true. But that stuff about getting his ass kicked in a downtown bar by talking shit about Van Halen, well, it was better than the shit you are putting out now.

Jake Sevier
Phoenix

Editor's note: Trashman returns in this very issue. Click HERE.

Music Man

Thanks for the well-researched article ("Commodore of Errors," Gilbert Garcia, January 27). You got a lot of dirt on this sham of a musician. I am a recording artist, and our record label is soon to be releasing an album for my group, the Flock. It is always nice to read an article related to the music business. I've been at it for years, and if you use some common sense and do your own research, it becomes very easy to differentiate the fakers "who like to name drop" from those who are true to the trade.

Marcus Heatherly
Mesa

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