Kick Asbestos

The joke's on us: Again and again, as I read all the stories of abuse, neglect and total lack of regard for human life and dignity, I am disgusted at the condition of our society ("Outlaw Dumping," Robert Nelson, June 12). This is just another example of our complete disregard for the plight of others. These men, convicted for minor crimes, may have a death sentence. A death that is slow, painful and could have been prevented.

What is wrong with law enforcement in our state? What is wrong with the people living here that we are so blind to the evils that happen in our corrections system, from Joe Arpaio's jails, the worst, to our prisons that use prisoners abominably? Are we blind? Do we simply ignore things?

I have to ask how many unconvicted mentally ill men and women have to be abused and murdered by our overzealous police, jail guards, prison guards and the people who are in charge of supposedly making sure these evils do not happen. These people and agencies in charge are making prisoners eat food rejected by homeless people, that allow men to be exposed to deadly health threats and then lie about it.

Wake up, Arizona! We are the national joke. Our jails are compared by the rest of our nation to those in Third World nations.

We need a change -- one that ensures everyone's rights. Not just the rights of the ones with money. We are giving up our own souls by ignoring the plight of our less fortunate.

Name withheld by request

Grim reaper: It just seems more and more in Phoenix that if you aren't rich, a sheriff or a politician, your life just isn't relevant to the image (and it's a façade) of this city. We do reap what we sow -- eventually.

Marie Hanna

Brother's keeper: I read your article with interest as my brother, Richard Northrup, is an inmate at Fort Grant. He had complained about the asbestos work that they had to do. The prison just moved my brother, who is a Level I prisoner, up to Willcox, which is a maximum-security prison. I feel this was done to shut him up. No one will answer my questions at the prison as to why this was done. So that tells me there was only one reason, and that was to shut Rick up. I thank you for doing this story. This needs to be brought out. The prison system treats inmates as if they were animals. They do have rights, too.

Rebecca Rolando
Hayden, Colorado

Bar None

Visualize World Peace Through Law: The cancellation of the Arizona State Bar's World Peace Through Law section's presentation, Conflicts in the Middle East and the Relevance of Law, by the State Bar at the 2003 State Bar Convention is an outrage (Spiked, June 12). It is unethical and hinders free speech for the State Bar of Arizona to submit to pressure from "unnamed" sources and give an ultimatum to the World Peace Through Law section. The World Peace Through Law section has a 15-year history of presenting well-balanced, even if controversial, panels. It seems very ironic that part of the panels' discussion would have certainly covered the strength of the Jewish lobby in Washington and its effect on United States policymaking. Unfortunately, it appears that the strength of this lobby reaches all the way to the State Bar of Arizona.

Deniz Arik, ASU Law Student

Gonzo Journalism

Covering the bases: Regarding your "food fit for a Muppet" ("Going, Going, Gonzo," Carey Sweet, June 5): First, you should research how to get to Gilbert fast, if time is an issue for you. (The 101 wasn't very smart; the 60 would have been better.) Secondly, anywhere you go you'll spend more than $100 for a foursome, excluding the tip, of course. Third, no shit the draw is Gonzo. Every other person is wearing or brought Diamondbacks memorabilia to be signed, and let's not forget about the ladies and, yes, some men, looking for Gonzo or other sports heroes autographing the board! And for the home run, it's a new environment for the caged Gilbert clientele to let loose, and so far, they've been back again and again!

For writers like you, to take out your frustrations on getting out of town for all-American food and then having to write your report about it, I feel sorry that you've been spun out! You're out!

Jill Gutchewsky

Small Fry Cook

He's scary good: Rio "call me chef" Bowerman is scary ("Rio Bravo," Speakeasy, Robrt L. Pela, June 5). He sounds like a pretentious little snot. He's the perfect example of what's wrong with kids today -- they don't know how to just be kids.

Cooking at seven or eight months old? Inviting guests over for dinner as a toddler? Yeah, right. If he gets a show on the Food Network, I'll never watch that channel again.

My 11-year-old only knows how to cook scrambled eggs, but at least he acts like a normal kid!

Andrea Sweet

Judging Robert

Sexual healing: I take issue with Robert Nelson's recent column ("Judgment Day," June 5) concerning Bishop O'Brien. No, it has nothing to do with what is happening to the church, nor O'Brien. Instead, my issue with the column has to do with something Robert Nelson wrote. To be specific, the very last line of that column.

The implications in those four words that porn stores, the people who shop at them, and the workers themselves are involved in the molestation of children are not only false, but slanderous, in my opinion. Couples, lovers and single people exploring their sexual freedom as human beings are those who frequent such establishments. As for the people who work there and/or own the business, I would say with 100 percent certainty that they are just trying to feed themselves and their families by running a legitimate business.

As a reporter, Mr. Nelson, I should hope you are more concerned with truth, rather than with the continuation of a false, slanderous stereotype.

Andrew L. Ayers

Bishop Magoo: When I was a boy, one of my favorite cartoon shows was Mr. Magoo. At the beginning of each episode, Mr. Magoo would get into his car and drive off -- hitting and running into everything and everyone in sight. He constantly blamed others for his own mistakes, even calling them "road hog" or muttering "people just don't seem to care anymore." Of course, Mr. Magoo had an excuse -- poor eyesight.

However, Bishop O'Brien doesn't have the same excuse. His actions have hurt many innocent children and families.

Barry C. Wray

Editor's note: Barry, you may be more right than you realized.

Stoned Age

Weed wacked: After reading what "Name withheld by request" had to say in the May 29 issue regarding Brendan Joel Kelley's article ("No Rave Review" May 8), I could not agree more with "Name withheld."

This bill, which was voted through by ignorant old men in Congress fueled by the corrupt money interests of the ultraconservatives and religious zealots, has now possibly destroyed gatherings and music festivals. No promoter could ever be responsible for what the paid ticketholder does before, during or after any such gathering.

We can't wait out another 40 years of this nonsense for all these narrow-minded people to die off and go away before the laws in this country become sensible. Personally, I can't wait to be old and in a rest home having fun on glow stick Fridays just sitting in my chair next to the bass bins on a vibe thanking God that the cool people have grown old and we changed the things the narrow-minded ruined for us all. Think about it.

Bill Manstis

Like a Good Neighbor

Well defined: Re: "Rent a Patient," April 24, and "Surgical Strike," May 8 (both by Paul Rubin).

"Fraudulent" is defined by Encarta World Dictionary as "designed to deceive: not honest, true or fair, and intended to deceive people." Both the clinics and the "rent a patients" seem to have acted in a fraudulent manner, or been involved in perpetuating an insurance fraud. It is simplistic and naive to blame "big bad corporations" (both medical and insurance) taking advantage of poor, innocent dupes.

Laying fault on the insurance companies for having to reflect these frauds in insurance premiums, as done in a letter to the editor ("Patients Be Damned," May 8), is another case of the incredibly naive "big bad corporation" syndrome. While many times frustrating to deal with because of corporate guidelines and understaffing, the cold, hard truth is that insurance is a business, not a charity that serves a common good (for the most part).

Just thank your lucky stars you have insurance as a workplace benefit and that you never have a life-threatening illness that costs thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment. People would then have the right, by the writer's own logic, to turn to him and say "to see our insurance company penalize us for your illness that we have nothing to do with makes us furious."

Courtney Gaertner

Parade Rout

Lessons learned: The cast of Parade was saddened by Robrt L. Pela's recent article about the show ("Jewdunnit?" May 22). Pela sees Parade as "unnecessarily dour" and "too boring a show for any company to bother with." He states that the show is "hardly intended as uplifting and fun." I ask if he knew what the show was about before he came or if he just assumed that because it had a name like Parade, which usually has a positive feel to it, then it would be a happy show.

Gee, I wonder what his reaction would have been had it been a gay rights play. If you did know what the play was about, well, what did you expect, Robrt? A rousing rendition of Guys and Dolls at the end? He mentions that the show is boring, but what part of the show? The music? No, he clearly states that Jason Robert Brown's music is widely lauded. The actors, then. No, he praised our fellow actors. The direction, maybe? Nope. He clearly states, "[Jim] Linde is to be commended for maneuvering a cast of 30 through difficult material under less than adequate conditions."

Oh! The book! He states, "the book is unformed and dreary and almost entirely overcome by Jason Robert Brown's widely lauded score." That says to me that the music is most of the show, so if the music is good, how is the play boring? I am led to believe that Pela did not pay very much attention to the show.

Jay L. Chacon


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