"I feel a bit sorry for us here in America, where presidential campaigns have all the depth and verisimilitude of one interminably long infomercial..."
John Highsmith

McCain's Gravy

"Haunted by Spirits" (John Dougherty and Amy Silverman, February 17) is a fascinating and expertly written piece. As a McCain supporter, I found it shocking. I have two problems with your assertions regarding possible ethical improprieties on McCain's part:

He acknowledges his own "dirty" history regarding campaign financing, including his relationship with the liquor lobby (though possibly not to the extent that some would prefer; the liberal press will make sure to crucify him on this in due time).

James Hensley's criminal past has little to do with McCain personally. This wouldn't be the first president elected largely from bootlegging money. For that matter, he certainly wouldn't be the first deadbeat in the White House, having been placed there via his wife's money/connections. Did Bill Clinton ever hold a legitimate job? Didn't seem to hurt his campaign. The left-skewed media helped out the old boy again and forgot all about it. You should write about this phenomenon. Great article, anyway.

Brad Huddleston
Queens, New York

I logged on to your Web site from Philadelphia because I was interested in knowing why Senator McCain is not as well supported in his home state as elsewhere. Pennsylvania's governor is well thought of here, and so are senators Specter and Santorum; there is nothing like the rancor that McCain seems to generate in Arizona -- especially from fellow Republican elected officials like the Arizona governor.

I like a lot of what McCain stands for, and he has been elected many times and I am sure many of the electorate know his Hensley connections and of the Hensley backing, and it seems acceptable.

I have questions about campaign-finance reform. I really don't think it will work. I think it limits free expression, and someone like Senator McCain would never have mounted a viable race without considerable support from Hensley and, of course, Charles Keating. Great article.

Bob Guzzardi
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What a great piece! Thorough, and accurate (as far as I can tell). You've begun to unleash the media beast that's been so kind to your senator!

George A. Hacker, director
Alcohol Policies Project
The Center for Science in the Public Interest
Washington, D.C.

First time a Vietnam vet gets a true shot at running this great country, and his hometown smears his face in the mud. Who cares who he married, or if the enemy tied his ropes tight or not? Fact is, people, he was a POW for five-plus years. Can we say that about the other candidates? McCain will be good for this country and will send a strong message to other nations that we are strong. I do hope the fine state of Arizona wakes up and rallies behind John McCain.

Tim O'Rourke
via Internet

"Haunted by Spirits," or "how crooked booze wholesalers from Arizona put John McCain on the political map," is yet another thorough masterpiece from John Dougherty and Amy Silverman. It looks like James Hensley will be the first corrupt liquor baron since Joe Kennedy to put a relative in the White House. Another proud first for Arizona! One question still unanswered is why Cindy McCain was stealing drugs from a charity. Free Budweiser for life isn't enough?

Paul Schneider
via Internet

Again New Times leads head and shoulders over the pack in terms of bringing us real information about just who is running for public office -- in this case, the highest in the land, president. And I'm referring specifically to the extensive article in the February 17 issue, on Senator John McCain and his in-laws, some of whom (on his wife's side of the family) were convicted outlaws in terms of bootlegging and tax evasion here in Arizona, which, needless to say, does not necessarily disqualify relatives running for public office.

Sometimes what inevitably disqualifies people running for public office is the candidate themselves, once their real self oozes out from behind the faÁade of their carefully researched image, as happened (the cameras themselves don't lie) to John McCain in the aftermath of his loss in South Carolina, during his concession speech, in which he was decidedly less than gracious or sweet, but suddenly ugly. Shades of that alleged temper.

I feel a bit sorry for us here in America, where presidential campaigns have all the depth and verisimilitude of one interminably long infomercial, punctuated only by an honest mistake made by the candidate(s) or an honest and in-depth article in New Times.

John Highsmith

Thank you for a well-researched and detail-packed article. Unfortunately, most readers will blow this off as sour grapes and no more related to McCain's own character than the recent disclosure of slave ownership in his family tree. The slave issue is a real non-issue as Senator McCain himself had no more control over his family business three generations ago than you or I have over our distant relatives. It is a smear tactic and too petty to even mention.

This chronology of wealth-building is another story altogether. How Cindy McCain's family became wealthy (both legally and illegally) on the livers of thousands of Arizonans is interesting, but still not the main issue. I see the main point here being the lengths the senator has gone to nurture and protect that fortune for his own benefit over the years. Antenuptial agreement or no, the fortune grown by the Hensleys has spawned a powerful protector. That he would let one bill after another die in his Senate committee without so much as a hearing just screams protectionism. So whose interests will be truly represented by President McCain? Ours, or his?

"Follow the money" seems like better advice now than ever before.

Name withheld by request

Just wanted to thank John Dougherty and Amy Silverman for an excellent piece on Senator McCain. Although it is unfortunate that the major media outlet seems to ignore these matters, it is good to see that someone is informing the public about McCain's full family history. People keep asking me about McCain and they're always surprised at how much they do not know about him. Christopher Telschow

Kingwood, Texas

Jack and Shill

There ought to be some empathy or sympathy for Jack Rose, subject of Terry Greene Sterling's excellent story "This Has Wrecked My Career" (February 24). Even with his 1510 SAT score, Mr. Rose is still the product of a yuppie culture of moral ambiguity, which is, if not patently immoral, then at least amoral.

I am not technically familiar with the law in this case, but how can Mr. Rose justify being in the employ of Prudential in order to bring them six-figure deals, and at the same time serve as the point man for publicly elected Corporation Commissioner Jim Irvin, as it pertains to these same merger and acquisition deals for which the Corporation Commission is charged with impartial oversight?

Sadly, the answer is: That's how it's done. That's the current culture. That Jack Rose still believes he's done nothing wrong is further testimony to that culture. Which, unfortunately, also leads me to wonder if he would, or even should, be convicted by a jury of his peers. Perhaps, as a society, we should consider Mr. Rose's debt paid to society, if he at least promises not to become a university instructor, or has a change of heart.

It is enormously difficult for all of us to look in the mirror, so let's just glance out the window or at the TV screen and -- given not only the presidential candidates but the president as well -- perhaps we should hark back to a quote in the New Testament and say: ". . . so let the person without sin among you, cast the first stone . . ."

Robert Jones
via Internet

Back at the Ranch

I know Tom and Helen Rose and their daughters ("Have Gun, Will Unravel," David Holthouse, February 17). They are good, kind people and I am proud to have them as friends. There is not a bad bone in any of them. I can't say what I would have done if someone had come after my wife I love so very much. Tom is crazy in love with his wife and kids and shows it every time I have ever seen him. He does not look for trouble and does not focus on the bad things in life. I know he wishes that guy had never attacked his wife. I hope nothing like this ever happens to you, me or anyone. How would you feel if your loved one was attacked? What if she had not gotten away? What if the guy tried this attack on one of his girls? I wish you knew these people better. Did they ask for this? No! They are victims. What a mess.

Richard Gentry
via Internet

Bravo! What a great article. Unfortunately, it depicts the dark side of the American justice system and the treatment the "damned Mexicans" get when things go wrong. Some Americans forget they are damned immigrants as well. We'd really like to hear the end of the story and the fate of Adan Salcido.

Alejandro Leon
via Internet

It is absolutely ludicrous that Tom Rose is allowed to get away with potentially ruining the life of another person. And for what? To fulfill his prejudiced, attention-seeking agenda to "save face" in his community? If Rose was my father, friend, husband or even acquaintance, I would be ashamed. It is beyond my comprehension that the legal system (police, attorneys, courts) allows this to continue.

Tish Tamez
via Internet

Thank you for your coverage of the incident involving Tom Rose. It scares me to think that there are still people like Rose who think that frontier justice should prevail. Sounds to me like his wife is more afraid of him than she was of Salcido.

Belle Neuwirth

Congratulations on a fine piece of journalism. I can't remember the last time a story prompted my blood to boil. In no way am I condoning the actions of Mr. Salcido, but thanks to your story, Mr. Salcido's fate won't easily be glossed over in our already overburdened criminal justice system. Like you, I would also like to know what awaits Mr. Salcido.

Rose should have been prosecuted for assaulting Salcido as well as through the federal system for hiring undocumented workers. How convenient that Mr. Salcido's residency status did not come into play until Mr. Salcido pissed off Tom Rose. I just wonder how many other foreign nationals Rose has working for him.

Luis M. Balandran
via Internet

Needle Point

Laura Laughlin's piece "Shot to Hell" (January 27) demonstrates the total lack of respect the government has for its people. I served in the Air Force from 1993-98. I never had to take the anthrax vaccine, but I know from experience how shitty military service can be.

Sure, the rank and file of the military will railroad those in conflict with their so-called "wisdom." Good people will lose their jobs/careers and the military will keep churning along, spitting out those who get in the way.

I say keep on questioning people in authority regardless of what they threaten. It doesn't matter what kind of paper these military members signed, their bodies are the last bit of themselves they truly possess. If the government takes that, what the hell is left?

Don Thaggard

I am writing in regard to the story you ran on the anthrax vaccination program in the military. You have only scratched the surface of a very large issue. This whole issue is coming to light here in my area and it has people very scared.

With no reasons or explanations given, this program is ruining lives and morale and is creating division among the masses!

Meanwhile, this nightmare chugs along, and no one is intervening on our behalf. We are being denied the very same thing we chose to defend -- our rights under the Constitution.

Doesn't anyone find it ironic that the DOD keeps saying this shot will protect us from inhalation anthrax, yet it was never developed for that, never tested for that, and, to date, has never been proven in humans to do that? How do they know it will supposedly protect?

I have been dumfounded by the lack of regard for my safety and health in this matter. It absolutely amazes me. Nice job on your story. I only hope it has a happy ending.

Name withheld by request

Cannon Fodder

I would appreciate your explanation as to why Max Cannon's Red Meat cartoon of February 17 is to be funny? Satirical? Newsworthy? Or whatever. I think it is disgusting. No wonder your newspaper is free.

Harold J. Bidigare
Fountain Hills

Second Opinion

Your critique of Tintypes ("Time Marches Yawn," Robrt L. Pela, February 17) was one of the cheesiest attempts at journalism that I have ever read. We are eight adults, all from the New York-New Jersey area. We thoroughly enjoyed the show -- fine acting, excellent entertainment. Your childish, ridiculous review is truly not worthy of mention. However, I thought it was time for someone to tell you to grow up. Your vindictive writing is an embarrassment. You call yourself a theater critic -- get a day job.

Lillian Goldston

Mud Flap

The Mullet column was a riot ("Shout at the Mullet," David Holthouse, January 27). I belong to a segment of the population that probably accounts for the majority of Mullet haircuts; I am a lesbian. In certain circles, it's known simply as "THE Cut," because of its extensive proliferation among us girls. It's also known as the "Achey-Breaky, Big Mistakey" (after Mr. Cyrus), and the "Mud Flap," and I have seen more than my fair share. I once took my mother to a Mercury game (you know, to introduce her to my people), and as we waited in line for the mass exodus, a large group of Mullet-headed dykes walked past. I turned to my mother and told her, "No matter how you feel about me and my life, take comfort in knowing that I will never, ever do that to my head." Now, my parents were very accepting of my coming out, but at that particular moment, my mother let out a sigh of relief, content with the fact that I was going to be okay. I even spied the slight shimmer of tears of joy in her eyes.

And in response to Richard Gilbert's response letter about Holthouse's column (Letters, February 17), one can only infer that he himself sports a Mullet. Relax, guy, you make it sound as if we're tipping over little kids in wheelchairs. No, no, no. I'm not making fun of physical attributes, I'm making fun of people who choose to look like idiots. And for the record, as an equal-opportunity mocker, we should point and laugh at Jeri-Curls, as well as anything feathered or crimped, shaved heads with rat-tails and/or bangs, comb-overs, bad rugs and perms on men. Don't think the ridicule stops at the follicle, either. I propose we make life unbearable for those wearing hair nets but not washing dishes, hats worn any direction other than forward or backward, stick-thin men in skintight Wranglers, women with blow bellies in halters and hip huggers, men in pointy-toed loafers with tassels, socks with sandals, suspenders with jeans, and anything else a halfway decent full-length mirror would solve. I could easily expand on the list, but according to my woman's intuition, I've scared Mr. Gilbert enough. And I'm sure that once he cuts his hair, burns his NASCAR paraphernalia, stops writing Steve Perry fan mail and takes the politically correct stick out of his ass, he'll find out what humor is.

Thanks for giving us a quality newspaper. Keep up the good work.

Kathy Williams
Litchfield Park


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