Oh, thats different: After reviewing your article ("The Real Rip-off Report," Sarah Fenske, February 1), I feel that it is important to point out two important aspects of the story that you failed to address. We fully understand that your job includes making difficult decisions regarding what to include and what to not include in the space that you have. However, as to these two aspects that I address below, we feel strongly that their absence in the story affects the integrity of the story.
The first and most important missing aspect is a description of how the Corporate Advocacy Program works. This failure to describe the program was particularly disconcerting in light of the accusations that the program constitutes extortion. A description of the program can be found at http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff167471.htm. The core of the program is that the business must commit to complete customer satisfaction, including providing refunds. The program is a win-win-win. The consumer benefits because the company commits to address the past and future complaints to the satisfaction of its customers. The company benefits because the complaints posted about the company are investigated and updated to reflect the company's commitment to resolve it or to expose the falsity of the report when applicable. Rip-Off Report is compensated for the time and effort spent on investigating the company, contacting the authors of the reports and updating the reports.
The second important oversight was not disclosing the names of the companies who falsely accuse [RipOffReport.com creator] Ed Magedson of extortion. Readers who are evaluating these allegations might want to investigate the companies represented by those making the allegations. Steve Miller [one of Magedson's most outspoken critics] is the principal of Federated Financial Services Credit Counseling Corporation, a non-profit whose address is in the same building as a for-profit called Federated Financial Services, Inc., which is in the same building as a non-profit called Federated Financial Debt Management Group, Inc., which is in the same building as a for-profit called Federated Consumer Counseling Institute, Inc., which is in the same building as a non-profit corporation known as Federated Financial Counseling Services, Inc. Christopher Sharp [who criticizes Magedson in Fenske's story] is the attorney for Whitney Information Network run by Russ Whitney. Whitney Information Network is the subject of a securities law class action and an SEC investigation.
Also, Ed Magedson does not understand why you never mentioned the thousands of thank-you e-mails he receives and his work with the FBI, FTC, Homeland Security, U.S. Postal inspectors, attorneys general from more than 20 states, the IRS, the Justice Department, and local authorities all over the U.S.
Maria Crimi Speth, Ed Magedson´s attorney, Phoenix
Old Boy Network
Conspiracy eerie: Thanks to Robert Nelson for putting the story of the 29-year-old seventh-grader/pedophile into context ("Arrested Development," February 22). Without New Times, I would have never understood exactly what was going on in this bizarre case.
Clearly, personnel at the schools involved lacked savvy, because how could they have been fooled by a man wearing makeup with stubble poking through? Didn't they take a hard look at, um, Casey Price, who turned out to be Neil Rodreick?
Well, I guess the official at the last school did finally get it, after perusing birth and other records. Maybe the fact that charter schools were involved had something to do with how easy it was for Lonnie Stiffler, et al., to pull all this off. We all know that charter schools, for the most part, are an educational sham in this state.
I know the story hints that Stiffler and one of the others involved [Robert Snow] also thought "Casey" was a boy, but I find that hard to believe. Despite the way Stiffler looks in the picture you published, nobody's that stupid. Are they?!
Betty Powell, Phoenix
Lies beneath: I would like to thank the author of "Arrested Development" for pointing out that the Mingus Springs Charter School was the first of four schools that actually took the time to look at this "kid" and his enrollment documents. It gives me chills to think of the number of children desecrated by these convicted sex offenders before they were caught.
It is our responsibility, as adults, to protect and care for all children in our community. Unfortunately, most Americans are too busy focusing on themselves to realize, or care about, the horrible things happening around them every day.
Emma White, Glendale
29 going on 12: I am proud that the Mingus Springs school took a closer look at this alleged boy named Casey Price. I'm terrified that this could happen in any school in the world. But if a child does not look his age, someone should always look into it.
Mary Roberts, Phoenix
Not obscure enough: This has to be fiction, taken perhaps from an obscure Erskine Caldwell story. I'm pretty sure Mr. Stiffler comes from that ambience. The rest of them come from Hell.
Gary Morley, Paris, Texas
Funny because its true: The story of Lonnie Stiffler and his grandson, "Casey Price," is the most bizarre thing I've ever read. After I first read your story, courtesy of the Fox News Web site that linked to your Web site, I Googled it to see if it was a hoax. But there were a few other stories on the subject out there, though none so illuminating as the one in New Times.
As your writer said, if the story hadn't had such tragic implications it would have been a comedy masterpiece. I loved the part about how Stiffler was actually embarrassed that he was having sex with a grown man instead of a boy. It was if he were saying, "Come on, officer, I'm not gay! I'm an upstanding pedophile!"
Anyway, congratulations on a cautionary tale well told. I'll bet a lot of schools across the country are taking a hard look at some of their students.
James McWilliams, Henderson, Nevada
Where the boys are: Sick and perverted. Prison should be the minimum for those mentioned in "Arrested Development." The motive to enroll the 29-year-old in school was clearly the group's scam to recruit more kids. I do not believe the other two thought for a moment they were having sex with a 12-year-old.
Name withheld by request
Sticks, stones, or names?: Laine Lawless, Chris Simcox are both racists. It's hilarious that they hate each other ("Burn, Baby, Burn," February 15), when the only difference in them is their sexual preference. But there's the possibility that Chris also likes girls, and there's no difference even there.
What annoys a lot of us about them is that they consider themselves big, swinging dicks when that 29-year-old grade-school student you wrote about the week after the Lawless cover could kick either of their butts. People like Lawless and Simcox are cowards, who like to go around bragging about how tough they are. I wouldn't pick either of them in a bar fight.
M.C. O´Brien, Phoenix
Um, you seem to read it, too: Wow! Laine Lawless really got worked up over the story New Times wrote about her ("Activist Grudges," Letters, March 1). Chill out, girl! Consider the source and be glad Stephen Lemons doesn't write for a real newspaper (you can see why he doesn't).
You should be laughing at dumb-asses like Joe Illing ("As long as you're not Xena-phobic, either," Letters, also March 1) and Roberto Morales ("'Tard with the same brush," Letters, same edition) for buying into it hook, line and sinker.
David Jones, Scottsdale
Must hate foreigners: Why doesn't New Times understand when it comes to illegal aliens? They are a canker sore on our society! They must be stopped from overrunning our country!
Maybe people like Laine Lawless are a little crass to be burning Mexican flags, but maybe that's what it takes to get the attention of apathetic Americans. I applaud her for not just sitting around and complaining, but risking death and injury to stand up for what she believes in. I don't care if she's a radical lesbian, we need more people like her in this country.
Marianne Ross, Phoenix
Migrant jerker: Nice letter, Roberto Morales. You have the right to express your opinion because you're living in this country, the same country made great by the patriots you call "dumb-as-a-rock trailer trash." We patriots also have the right of freedom of expression and the right to uphold the standard of living being brought down to Third World status by the very people who are escaping such conditions.
Your use of quotation marks around the word illegal really shows the absurdity of your "mind" set. Even a third-grader can differentiate between a migrant and an immigrant. A true immigrant will try to assimilate, to be a real American, to be a full contributor to society our society, not their country of origin. This means waving our flag and not the flag of the country they abandoned.
Migrants, on the other hand, aren't expected to adapt. They just leave when the work is done; they should be called illegal migrants, instead. You can now advance to the third grade, Roberto. It also seems you idealize the coyote. Moses they're not; they often extort and victimize their merchandise. It's all about money. So when you hear a story about people like Lawless filling these miscreants full of hot American lead, go cry to a bleeding heart that gives a shit, you moron.
Paul Saffell, Phoenix
Offenses make bad neighbors: This woman is an absolute joke. Does [Laine Lawless] really believe she and her forefathers are natives? There will always be someone opposing immigration, as there was early this century [with] Germans, Italians, Irish, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Asians; the list goes on and on.
We must understand firsthand that unless you are a Native American, you, too, come from immigrants. The Natives never handed out visas to our ancestors, right?
This woman hates Mexicans not only illegals, but every Mexican. I am sure she hates other minorities, as well, but for now she concentrates on Mexicans. Who knows which race will be next? I have to laugh at such individuals (extremists/fanatics). They don't want peace, ever.
But this nation is changing drastically. This is the nation of all creeds and colors, not just white. If you don't like it, go back to Europe. Build the Mayflower II and head off to start your own country. Get out of mine.
Rachel Barajas, via the Internet
Gondwanaland for Gondwanans: This is our land. We have always lived here, and will always do so. We didn't cross the border; it crossed us.
Who's next? Should we send all the African-Americans back to Africa? How 'bout the Italians? Asians?
[Laine Lawless] thinks that tax-paying immigrants are leading us to economic ruin? Take the head of your sovereign nation, who does not care for the right of women to choose, much less the rights of mouthy dykes.
Sandra Ponce, via the Internet
And they are telling you theyre not going: I think that this article is the most ignorant piece of literature I have ever read. This bitch needs to realize that we are in the 21st century . . . I'd like to see her burn a Mexican flag in front of me. I would also like to see her reaction when I burn a gay pride flag.
[Laine Lawless should] get a life, and understand that us "illegal immigrants" are never going anywhere. We are here to stay.
Livvy Ramirez, via the Internet
Back to the isle of Lesbos?: What is this woman's ancestry? If [Laine Lawless] isn't Native American, then she came from immigrants, too. Maybe she should be deported?
Molly Perkins, via the Internet
Sure, we can say irony: Let me see if I have this straight a wandering bored lesbian who fantasizes about being Xena finds her mission in life in Arizona by helping oppress illegal Mexicans!?
She could have saved herself a lot of trouble by getting more psychoanalysis at an earlier age to help her constructively channel all that trapped male energy. By aligning herself with the agents of hate, ignorance, and intolerance (surprisingly, some of the same groups that would have her kind and mine wiped off the planet) the true nature of Ms. Dill [Lawless' last name before she changed it] is revealed. Can you say irony?
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By the way, who is this Rusty Childress, and are any of his employees Hispanic? Have any of his dealerships sold cars to illegal Mexicans? Perhaps he can refund their money if he hates them so much.
Javier Chavez, via the Internet
See if she floats: All of this "anti-immigration" crap is just an excuse to be racist. And is [Laine Lawless] that ignorant to believe that every "illegal" is Mexican? And from what I remember, white people killed entire nations of Native Americans when they came here, so I don't think she's rightfully here either.
Well, it's pointless to argue with white-trash mullet-heads . . . too bad she didn't live in the time when they burned witches.
Jessica Dimas, via the Internet
Is it hot in here, or is it just the burning flags?: While I respect Laine Lawless' right to free speech, her burning of the Mexican flag is both disgusting and pathetic. She is no better than the despicable human beings that burn the American flag. She presents as nothing more than a self-absorbed, hate-mongering hypocrite. If she is the face and the voice of the anti-immigration movement, I'm jumping to the other side.
Andre Croxie, via the Internet