By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
On May 14, 2006, my sister, Nicole Traxler, was murdered in her home by a convicted felon who was released from prison eight months prior for murdering another girl in 1990. He was convicted of first-degree murder and then plea-bargained it to a second-degree murder charge. He served a 15-year sentence, during which time he had 57 prison violations, including throwing boiling water in the face of another inmate. For the latter, he received a three-and-a-half-year concurrent sentence.
My sister Nicole was a beautiful, talented, successful 36-year-old single mother who was taken from her son on Mother's Day in her home by a sick individual who never should have been released from prison.
And by the way, I will not be voting for Dan Coleman.
Michelle Macklin, via the Internet
The Bird Soars
About that conspiracy theory . . . : In response to your scathing attack on the documentary Loose Change("Loose Screws," The Bird, Stephen Lemons, September 7), I'd like to point out a flaw or two in your one-sided argument.
First, I work for the electronics and audio division of a surveillance manufacturer in the United Kingdom, and over the past three years, we have successfully seen trials of voice recorders that can successfully mimic a person's voice based on only a couple of minutes of dialogue.
All you have to do is get someone to speak into the recorder, and then you can successfully change the pitch and tone of that person's voice through a modulator, which in turn mimics any other spoken word accordingly to match. It's not science fiction, and many sources tell us that governments have been using devices such as these for more than 10 years longer than the private companies that are now selling the technology.
My second point is that your article didn't once mention the facts that are the backbone of Loose Change that a commercial airliner flew parallel to the ground, without hitting the lawn, smashing into the side of the Pentagon without leaving any sign of its engines, which the 9/11 Commission report said were "disintegrated." Or that Mohammed Atta was identified as the ringleader of the group that bombed the World Trade Center, as his passport miraculously survived the explosion (which was powerful enough to destroy the building) and was found in a nearby street, then conveniently handed in to authorities.
Loose Change is not saying that no Islamic terrorists were involved in 9/11, but that there are incredible factors that have not been explained by the 9/11 Commission factors that do indeed help to promote the idea that the U.S. government orchestrated these attacks.
I find your piece to be even more insulting, as I not only lived in New York at the time of 9/11 but worked only a few blocks from the WTC, witnessed it firsthand, and have researched the subject exhaustively because of that experience.
I firmly believe that elements of the current U.S. government had a firm hand in this awful tragedy, and I'm not some stupid kid, as you labeled the creators of Loose Change. I ask you to research all elements of this tragedy before attacking what others believe, and open your eyes a little.
Some of the documentary may ask you to accept the unbelievable, but unfortunately we live in an unbelievable world where governments lie to us on a daily basis about everything.
Craig Hickinson, via the Internet
Editor's note: Craig, read the column again. The Bird does indeed explain away many of the "facts that are the backbone of Loose Change" principally, the myth that a commercial airliner couldn't possibly have hit the Pentagon.
Somewhere, Ann Coulter is getting really hot: A recent New Times letter calling for a memorial "chronicling the attack on civil liberties by the Bush administration using 9/11 as an excuse" ("Protecting Liberty," Michael Walker, August 31) is just the type of preening retardation that makes most liberals so insufferable.
Since the letter-writer inflicted his opinion on us, he must be aware of the recent arrests in the U.K. that stopped the bombing of 20 airliners using the very "attack on civil liberties" he finds so repulsive and repressive here.
When the British intercepted terrorist messages, they saved hundreds, maybe thousands, of lives. If Americans try the same tactic, we become George Orwell's 1984.
Of course, this reader may confess to not knowing anything about how these aspiring terrorists were stopped which never stops a liberal from speaking. The more I read, the more I think South Park accurately portrayed liberals as smug, self-righteous hypocrites who love the smell of their own farts.
If such a ridiculous idea of an "attack on civil liberties" memorial is actually considered and I would expect such lunacy from liberals I have an idea for the design: a large, obese bronze ostrich with its head firmly planted in the sand, and a statue of Neville Chamberlain riding its back covering his eyes with his hands. Then, a statue of Osama bin Laden alongside holding a sword and wondering which one (ostrich or Chamberlain) to behead first.
Liberals are as much responsible for soiling the reputation of liberalism as child molesters are to blame for putting a social stigma on pedophilia. If the United States wants to monitor overseas calls to catch terrorists, that doesn't mean that Big Brother is coming to drag you out of Starbucks and throw you into a gulag. Wake up!
John Kestner, Peoria
Preaching to the Choir
Big love from a colleague: I just got around to reading the May 25 column by John Dougherty about the fundamentalist Mormon Church and the mainstream Mormon Church comparisons ("It Practices What They Preach"). What great writing (what a stellar wrap-up in the last lines)!
I would imagine it takes great passion, a lot of legwork and a load of courage to continue to successfully dig into the issues of polygamy and Mormonism right in the heart of it all.
You've been commended all over the Internet for your work. As a journalist myself, I just wanted to say kudos to New Timesfrom a Big Love fan who grew up with Mormon friends in Kansas City, and who has always had a morbid curiosity about this whole idea.
Jennifer Huffman, Des Moines, Iowa
Shout-Outs for John
He'll be missed: About John Dougherty's decision to leave New Times ("Vaya Con Dios," August 31), journalism in the Valley of the Sun will never be the same. I didn't always agree with John, but I always respected his professionalism and dedication to the truth. He will be missed, but he left many great memories behind.
Ron Pies, Tempe
Kudos from a reader: It's sad to see John Dougherty go. I don't like authority, I don't like corruption, and I don't really like rich people. So I've looked forward to reading Dougherty's work. I hope he's right about New Times continuing where he left off with as much vigor and balls.
James O'Brien, Tempe
Admirable work: I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciated John Dougherty's stories over the last few years. I was disappointed to read his last column.
As you probably already know, there are a lot of people in this town who admire the work he did. It's very fitting that he left the paper the same month Warren Jeffs was arrested. Talk about closure.
Joe Dana, Channel 12 News