A View to a Kill
The death penalty is revenge, pure and simple ("Curtains for Ceja," Barry Graham, February 5). It is handed out inconsistently and is an ineffectual deterrent against crime. The blood lust displayed by the victims' families is appalling. Such displays of hatred may be understandable, but it drags them down to the murderer's level. Barry Graham's assertion that politics plays a big role is dead-on. To sacrifice a human being for political gain is the ultimate evil. Graham should be commended for writing about the untimely death of a fellow human. We will stay in the dark ages until we realize that vengeance is not justice.

David McCombs

The President's Analyst
Barry Graham has a very good insight. The column "Sick Willie" (January 29) is as accurate an account of the Clinton presidency as I've ever read. I do, however, disagree with his assessment of the Reagan/Bush years. But that is American politics. Thanks to Graham for the article.

John Gibson
News, KOOL 94.5-FM
via Internet

In his column lambasting President Clinton and his most recent predicament, Barry Graham says that Clinton should do "the decent thing" and resign. I'm confused. Why exactly would resignation be the "decent thing" for him to do? As far as I've heard, Monica Lewinsky has not made any formal accusations, nor has she even publicly claimed that anything occurred between her and the president. Clinton denies any wrongdoing, despite that Lewinsky has not even accused him. Maybe they did have an encounter. But maybe they didn't. Definitely, though, we need proof before we accuse, and certainly before we pass judgment. Maybe in certain other countries this sort of quick-draw thinking flies, but not here . . . hopefully.

Sean Donovan

What a shame, what a stroke of bad luck! On the very week that the biggest presidential scandal since Watergate hits the nation, Barry Graham is on vacation! Well, maybe not physically, but mentally, for sure!

I looked forward to New Times' resident pit bull tearing into Clinton with great anticipation, but what did we get, a tepid piece on the meek side of Mr. Rogers. The Clinton-loving mainstream press has been more vociferous in its condemnation than Graham--what a letdown!

After reading his vitriolic pieces on Princess Diana, whom he called a whore, and Mother Teresa, whom he also vilified, I expected great things from our Bazza. But no; when a real battle is there to be joined, Graham is AWOL, but then, I forgot, our courageous Scotsman only takes pot shots at dead people.

Will Hartje

For Pete's Sake
In Dale Baich's article about Big Pete Pearson retiring ("Goin' Fishin'," January 22), Baich reports that keyboardist Moe Denham has played with the Blues Sevilles since 1994. I distinctly recall seeing Denham with his Hammond organ at the Azz Jazz Cafe on Camelback Road. I think it was 1996, and Tyrone Johnson was playing the saxophone. Denham may have the blues, but what I heard that night was more like bebop jazz. I thought he was great, and if that makes me a hippie, too, then I guess that's okay!

Eileen Duffy

Band Name Recognition
I'm writing in response to the January 15 article on the Refreshments ("Good Year for Bad Days," Michael Kiefer).

Isn't it funny how people (myself included) sit around and talk so much shit about anyone who has had even the slightest margin of success? It never ceases to amaze me how willing and ready people are to comment on the rise, and especially the fall, of those who've had any sort of achievement in life, much less the music industry.

I've seen firsthand what the music industry has done with people's lives. I've watched it turn its back on people like Doug Hopkins and the Refreshments without even the slightest remorse. I can only wonder when my time in this will come. Being dropped and forgotten by a record label is an inevitability. It's only a matter of when and how hard you fall.

So some people loved the Refreshments and some people hated them and some people can't make up their minds, so what? The Refreshments made it on their own merit with hard work, touring and catchy tunes. They did what a million garage bands out there can only hope to do. They made an album and sold damn close to 500,000 copies. You can't tell me that's not what rock 'n' roll is all about.

My hat's off to the Refreshments; it's a good band that knows its way around a three-minute pop song as well as anyone out there. The members'll have no trouble getting another deal and setting themselves up for yet another barrage of opinion.

Lawrence Zubia

Freaked Out
The "Child con Carny" story (Dewey Webb, January 15) brought back embarrassing memories of the intense attraction the side show had for me when I was a little girl in the 1950s. In Chicago, "Riverview" was a permanent fixture, providing area residents and visitors alike with a carnival experience par excellence. Although my Good Girl Brain knew it was inherently vile, my Bad Girl Brain insisted, always, on a run through the freak show. I would stare, open-mouthed in luxurious horror, as the poor freaks each in turn displayed their deformities for the crowd's entertainment.

When I watch today's talk shows, I am often drenched in deja vu--they are undoubtedly today's equivalent of the carny freak show. Just as sometimes I was forced by propriety to cast down my stare as the bearded lady began her shtick, I find myself sometimes changing the channel when the interview begins with the adult conjoined twins.

Cindy Duffy

Crystal Clear
Congratulations to Paul Rubin and David Holthouse. They've obviously done their homework. "Tweaking" taught me to educate myself by reading a lot of different material. The article "Methology" (December 18) was very accurate and well-done. Very few real-life stories exist. Many are done without depth and accountability as this one.

Unfortunately, I am caught up in the aftermath of my continual three-year party. Until U.S. marshals decided to end it for me. Ironically, I thank them today. For without their surprise detainment, I would not have my first 30 days of sobriety. Trust me, it was a long time coming. I feel very healthy and thankful for every breath I take.

Yes, I have a very long road ahead of me. Each step of the way is right where I want to be. With my higher power, I'll get through this. For I strongly believe: If you like today, then you are willing to release yesterday. For yesterday ended last night. The heartaches of the past are the devils of the present, and the creators of evil in the future.

D.S. Provenzino


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