Take My Child, Please
Too many parents: Your cover story demonstrates the incredible lengths people will go to so they can hang on to a child ("Indian Takers," Paul Rubin, March 22). All the people in the article who wanted little Raven Laws were well-meaning.
The mother and father, who of course had biological rights to the girl, had drug problems, which (in the mother's case) she had seemingly solved. But even the father seems to have gotten his act together enough to at least provide daycare for Raven.
This is not to say that they deserved custody of the girl, because once a tweaker, maybe always a tweaker. Only time will tell whether the court's decision to give Raven to [the mom] was a good one.
And what an interesting twist, with the foster family, the Bessingers, apparently hiring that phony Indian tribe to try to claim custody of Raven to keep her away from mom Shelly Walters. I think they thought they were doing what was best, because of Shelly's past scrapes with the law. Also, they had fallen in love with the little girl and couldn't stand to lose her.
But the Bessingers let things get out of hand when the two Native American women took Raven from her mom's house while Raven's teenage sister was home. I'm surprised some criminal charges weren't filed over that.
Maggie Hamilton, Phoenix
Investment in the future: I'm just wondering how long it will be before the Bessingers decide that they need to be compensated for all their time spent caring for Raven Laws.
Honestly, it doesn't sound like her mother has been too grateful for the fact that they raised and cared for her daughter. I wouldn't hold it against the Bessingers for wanting to be reimbursed for their time and money.
And I completely agree that Child Protective Services is a joke. Anyone trying to do right by a child knows that CPS is completely incapable of doing what's in the best interest of a child and that it worries more about the rights of the shitty parents.
Bonnie Powers, Wickenburg
Growing Native: This was a really interesting story that I read from the start to the end. I started off thinking that the old couple was getting screwed by the system, but then they hired the Indian tribe to keep the mother from getting that little girl. In the end, I guess Raven is going to have a hell of a time making it in life.
Ralph Ontiveros, via the Internet
Shades of gray: This was a good story about Raven Laws. What was going on was very complicated, but Paul Rubin, whose stories I love, put it together. The problem is I'm still not sure where I stand on the case. Nothing is easy in life, I guess.
Janie Snowden, Tempe
Custodial incompetence: This is one fucked-up saga, and while it's great that everything is working out for little Raven, I've got to point out a few things.
The Bessingers went overboard. No matter their motivation, they went about it the wrong way, lying about cops showing up at their house to harass them. Come on!
They also claimed there was abuse by the mother. If indeed there was abuse, why did the Bessingers take so long to report it?
On the other side, the mother, Shelly Walters, seems very ungrateful for the three years of free child care she got from the Bessingers.
This story just goes to show how fucking incompetent the morons at CPS really are. The agency uses the drug-felon parents as partial justification for removing the girl from the Bessingers' care. It then goes on to endorse the father as the child's primary caregiver while the mom is at work? (And he keeps skipping out on his drug tests.)
Finally, what's up with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office? It can go after a child as an adult in an alleged child-porn case ("Doubting Thomas," Sarah Fenske, January 25), but it can't make a case against the two Native American women, who are self-admitted kidnappers.
Name withheld by request
Judge, not: Lisa Daniels Flores (I cannot, in good conscience, address her as Judge) should be removed from the bench. What was she thinking, returning Raven to her dysfunctional parents? I pray that Raven does not end up being another physically and sexually abused child.
Name withheld by request
Fans Club Us
Giving the people what they want: After reading your article, which Robrt L. Pela wrote before seeing Ted Neeley's show, I can only surmise that the writer is jealous of someone who can perform a show from 30 years ago to sold-out crowds coast to coast at age 66 ("Christ Complex," March 22).
Neeley has other projects going, but the public has asked for him to do Jesus Christ Superstar. The tour was to end this June, but because of the public, the citizens of this country (and other countries like Spain and Italy), it's now going to start a second round starting in November 7. The last tour Neeley did was to be for three months but ended up being three years. He says as long as people love the show and want to see it, he will continue to do it.
Susan Kern, Lakewood, Colorado
Name that Platoon: This is a rather odd article on Jesus Christ Superstar, but what caught my attention was your assertion that Corey Glover's band, multi-platinum-selling Living Colour, is a "one-hit heavy metal band." This is patently false.
Living Colour won a Grammy for the song "Cult of Personality" and then followed up with a Grammy win for the entire album Time's Up. The single on that record, "Type," charted higher than "Cult" and other singles, including "Glamour Boys," "Love Rears Its Ugly Head," and "Leave It Alone," though they, also, did very well on the charts.
Oh, and rarely is the band considered "heavy metal." Additionally, Glover has an extremely powerful and ranging voice, and has been acting on and off since 1986, when he appeared in Platoon.
Peter Kestler, Minneapolis, Minnesota
One Man's Tweet
Bushy tale: Well, it's high time somebody called Congressman Rick Renzi what he is: a fucking crook. I loved what The Bird had to say about that scoundrel, and I loved the Nixon-esque cartoon that accompanied the piece ("Corruption Junction," Stephen Lemons, March 29).
How can this preppy Republican asshole think he can get away with getting a U.S. attorney run out of office because he is investigating Tricky Ricky's highly suspicious bullshit? (Again, I just loved that cartoon!)
I hope the Democrats in Congress succeed in handing the Bush administration its head on a platter because it got rid of Phoenix U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton and the other seven top federal prosecutors around the country. My belief is that they were all axed for stepping on the wrong toes.
And I hope that the investigation into Renzi's suspicious land-swap deal goes forward so that justice may finally be served.
Al Rodriguez, Phoenix
Spoof Will Set You Free
Squalid gold: New Times does it again! I have been a faithful reader since 1990, and over the years I have appreciated the spoofs your paper has featured. Until now, my all-time favorite was the gold rush at the Scottsdale Galleria. The indignant letters that followed (after the farce was revealed) were hysterical!
But that one can't compare to the Anna Nicole parody ("Anna Nicole's Arizona Love Child," Charles Tatum, March 8). From the front cover (cleverly done up to look like the Star or National Enquirer) to the goofy quotes and pictures inside, any thinking person could've seen it was one of your spoofs.
But after reading what all those seriously enraged readers had to say ("Letters," March 22), I realize there just may not be too many thinking people out there.
Funny, funny, funny! Truthfully, the story was only slightly amusing; it was reading about the aftermath that had me laughing out loud ("Big Boobs," The Bird, also March 22). I particularly liked the high dudgeon some of those crappy tabloid organizations got into when they realized the joke was on them. The fact that the spoof was lampooning the crappy tabloids made me laugh harder than I have in a long time.
The guy from Inside Edition almost going out to Sells, Arizona, in search of the scoop was priceless.
Every time you do one of these things, I think you can't possibly get away with another one. Guess it goes to show old P.T. Barnum was right. Thanks for the laughs.
A. Koomen, Mesa
Guess well just have to get along without you: I lacked the sophistication to pick up on the fact that your Native American/Anna Nicole Smith story was a lie er, excuse me, satire.
Since I'm not sophisticated enough to parse out the truth from sense of humor, I'll be un-subscribing from your e-list. If I want to fill my limited intellect with un-factual information, I can always watch Fox News or listen to Rush Limbaugh.
James Ashurst, Goodyear
Dont! Stop! Dont stop!: I read the responses to your Anna Nicole satire both at the end of your Web-site story and in the Letters section of the paper, and all I can say is: Oh, my God!
How many tight-ass idiots are there out there? Can't anybody take a joke anymore?
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It was truly amazing how many sanctimonious asses there are out in the world, who kept saying how you can't make fun of dead tabloid queens. And the PC morons who would literally try to ban [The Adventures of] Tom Sawyer from the bookshelves (if they were able to actually read a whole book) took the cake. People actually thought that calling the fictional Johnny Soto's schlong a tomahawk was racist. I had to laugh out loud!
All I can say is, thank God for New Times in this fucking cesspool of a town! Without it, the media would have no humor about it. The point that was being made by the satire that it's completely absurd how not just the tabloid media but even the mainstream media (like CBS News) are slobbering all over the dumbass Anna Nicole story was totally lost on the PC imbeciles. Not to mention the just plain imbeciles.
The best part was watching that idiot reporter on Inside Edition wagging his finger at New Times for bringing him and a camera crew all the way to Phoenix to interview Charles Tatum. Dude, the joke was on you! Couldn't you have done a little research and found the byline was that of Kirk Douglas in the movie Ace in the Hole?
I just hope you guys don't get cowed by the negative feedback. Please, please, please keep the madness coming! Somebody has to keep our funny bones tickled and give us a reason to keep reading the press.
James Terrell, via the Internet