Mr. Mora wonders how America could adopt him as a son, then kick him out. "Not right," he says. "Not American." Well, that's where I draw the line in the sand. It's this absurd and degenerate comment of Mr. Mora's that compels me to write, because it's the same myopic self-righteousness and hypocrisy I've seen before in South Florida and which goes unchallenged (by Americans) in deference to political correctness. It's because I'm an immigrant that I say screw political correctness! When are we going to act American, think American, and be American?

This country needs to start giving residency and citizenship the value they deserve. Free-for-all immigration is allowing fascists and ingrates to displace hard-working immigrants who can contribute to this nation in exchange for America's hospitality and nurturing. Many of us didn't arrive on these shores with our mommies. I was seven years old and wound up in a Montana orphanage for three years. Eventually I resettled in Miami, where I also attended Miami High just like Mr. Mora. Later I bagged at a Winn-Dixie and unloaded trucks at the old Saunders Hardware on Coral Way, unwilling to soil my hands for an easy buck pushing drugs. In those days, I don't recall food stamps or subsidized housing for refugees. City of Miami police had no gang unit. And the streets were still named for great American men and women who scraped their knuckles bare building this town. (Yes, there was a city called Miami already here before 1960.)

What went wrong with Mr. Mora? For one thing, his entry into America was too easy. What we acquire too cheaply, we esteem too lightly, as they say. And that's the case with a disturbing number of immigrants in the last few decades. They enter with an attitude that America owes them and that their Third World cultures are just shy of pre-Etruscan, so why assimilate? Beyond that, every hardship, every challenge is blamed on America, because America owes them. If things don't go well or they succumb to criminal activity, it's America's fault. Always America's fault.

In the end maybe guys like Mr. Mora are right -- America and Americans are to blame. Guilty of opening our doors too wide, gratis. Guilty of tolerating cultural arrogance and violations of the law. Guilty of allowing streets, parks, and buildings to be shanghaied and our history to be supplanted.

I've only sworn allegiance once in my life. In gratitude and with respect I swore it to the United States of America. It was at Dade County Auditorium, along with tens of thousands of others who've done so over the years. That oath was a two-way street. Lady Liberty adopted me, but I also swore, as a man of dignity and principle, to be true to her.

Antonio Gonzalez

Pembroke Pines

Food Corner:

Outed at Talula

If they don't know you, how can they recognize you? In her review of Talula, Pamela Robin Brandt wrote, "[Andrea] Curto, who concentrates on supervising kitchen operations while [husband Frank] Randazzo works the front of the house, spotted and recognized me." How could chef/owner Andrea Curto recognize Ms. Brandt if she'd never seen her before? She can't be a critic if she lets herself be seen at restaurant openings or functions.

Inga Fitzpatrick

Coral Springs

Food Corner: Our Pies Please

Lee certainly knows his stuff: After many calls from friends, we've finally picked up New Times and Lee Klein's wonderful article about our business, the Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory ("Key Lime Sublime," August 21). Lee knows a lot about key lime pies and key lime products, and his suggestion about a key lime ice cream sandwich was greatly appreciated. It's our intention to have this product for the upcoming high season in the Keys.

Tania and Roberto Madeira

South Miami

Food Corner: My Pies Prevail

Lee obviously has no clue: Regarding making a good key lime pie, Lee Klein misjudges the amount of time and loving effort required. I squeeze my key limes (very intense in labor), drain the seeds, crush the graham crackers, bake the crust as a separate step, and definitely bake the pie. I have never made my pie with meringue or used whipped cream. It stands alone.

My friends and I went to the Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory and had a slice. It did not taste like mine. In my opinion -- and my opinion is no less or more valid than his -- my pie is far superior. The pie at the Blond Giraffe tastes like anything you can buy (but not want to eat) at Winn-Dixie. And that's my opinion.

Elaine Marlin


Food Corner:

The Arepa Conundrum

Without knowing the country, how can you know the food? I found Pamela Robin Brandt's review of Mapalé restaurant very offensive to Colombian people ("Starch on the Grill," August 7). Who is this American woman to judge Colombian cuisine?

She does not even know how to spell Cartagena (it's not Cartageña). She has no knowledge about when an arepa is good or bad because she has never tasted it. She needs to study her geography and world culture.

Maria Viera


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