I am writing in response to Paula Park's informative story about Deborah Mash's valiant effort to do research on ibogaine ("Addicted to Addiction," September 11). Since the controversial psychedelic has been used widely by addicts in Europe to reduce the craving for cocaine and heroin, why hasn't the Food and Drug Administration endorsed more research and development of ibogaine to be used by Americans addicted to drugs?
Deborah Mash might risk her credibility and reputation as a pharmacologist by operating a for-profit clinic in St. Kitts, but she is blazing a trail where a lot of academic scientists don't have the guts to go. I wish her luck in her endeavors.
Robert Stewart Denchfield
This Is Your Captain Speaking -- Anonymously
As a captain on a Boeing 747 that regularly flies in and out of Miami, I totally agree with other angered citizens mentioned in Kirk Semple's article who, like me, live beneath the departure path of Miami International Airport ("It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Noise-Abatement Issue!" September 11). There is absolutely no reason that every heavy aircraft departing MIA should not fly the International Civil Aviation Organization's close-in community departure profile. None. Not one. Almost every major First World airport in existence requires this profile. If you don't know what it is, look it up.
And you might check out information about Amsterdam's Schipol airport, one of Europe's busiest, which is about to be closed to all jet traffic during evening hours. That's like shutting down MIA from midnight to 6:00 a.m.
The incredibly corrupt Dade County Aviation Department has just not been offered the correct inducement. I'd bet that if someone came up with some hot cash in a cold bank account for the right people, noise abatement would be instituted overnight.
Like the pilot in Mr. Semple's story, I do not need to be identified. I am too well-known around MIA.
Name withheld by request
What a Stud!
Though I have not even heard Steve Winwood's new album, I am sure it has some fine moments and that Ben Greenman is just a dung beetle posing as a human being ("Arc of a Moron," September 11). No, wait -- that's an insult to dung beetles. But I'm sure he eats shit nonetheless.
Obviously the purpose of New Times is just to criticize -- not justifiably, but just to criticize. This brings to mind the old adage, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. And those who can't teach, teach shop." And now: Those who can't do anything, write for New Times.
Your "paper" serves no useful purpose that I can detect other than to prove what a great country this is that anyone (even total horses' asses such as yourselves) can have the right to free speech.
Regarding your insinuation that I have a "teeny-weeny insecurity" about my dick because I suggested that John Floyd has no dick (or balls, for that matter) because of his unfounded slams against James Taylor ("Letters," September 11), I assure you I have a dick, which is still in frequent demand, which I'm sure is more than John Floyd can say as I'm sure he couldn't get laid in a women's prison (or a men's prison, for that matter).
R. Rene Patenaude
East Otis, Massachusetts
Job Threatened by Road Not Taken
You could have taken the high road and coughed up an apology for John Floyd's low-road article ("Sickly Sweet Baby James," September 4). It was shoddy journalism -- and I use that word loosely. But you opted for a similar response to your feedback on the James Taylor article. How does the editor remain employed? Perhaps he won't for long.
Cary, North Carolina
One Mo' Time
I'd like to write a few positive words about MoJazz Cafe ("MoJazz No Mo'," September 4). For four and a half years it's been the only straight-ahead jazz club operating in Miami Beach, and I enjoyed many nights of wonderful music there. Kudos to Mo Morgen for keeping it open that long. It's already missed.
U.S. Doesn't Need to Go to Haiti to Find Tyrants
Regarding Jim DeFede's column "A Marked Man" (August 28), the Immigration and Naturalization Services's duplicitous detainment and interrogation of Haitian national Dany Toussaint resonated with the classic Orwellian theme of a ubiquitous government's lawlessness and impunity. How else would one explain the FBI machinations via e-mail and the inherently vindictive and personalized policy Congress has devised to bar Mr. Toussaint's entry into the United States?
As a future lawyer and a human being of conscience, I am appalled by the circumstances surrounding Mr. Toussaint's detainment. It is my understanding that the INS is an administrative agency with a narrowly defined mandate. Yet in this case we see the politicization of the INS as an instrument for formulating U.S. policy in Haiti.
Minimally speaking, the role the INS has played in the Toussaint affair thus far reeks of procedural irregularities. Moreover, the broad discretion afforded the INS through legislation legitimizes a policy of ad hoc decision-making fueled by unprincipled motives. I use the word unprincipled because there is simply no legal grounding for a standard that Toussaint's attorney, Ira Kurzban, characterizes as "ridiculous ... because the government does not have to prove anything."
It is in this context that we see the government's case in all its transparency, revealing Dany Toussaint as little more than a pretext for a much larger agenda -- the containment and neutralization of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Above all, I find it both ironic and tragic that Haitians like Dany Toussaint and Abner Louima (brutalized by New York police) seek refuge from the political and social turmoil of their homeland, only to be confronted by the same horrific abuses they experienced at the hands of their own government -- a government we have historically characterized as tyrannical. It makes you think.
Joshua P. Bratter
Cool Enough to Bash Hanson
Greg Baker's review of Hanson's Middle of Nowhere ("Hanson Rules!" August 28) was excellently informative and thought-provoking. I have always enjoyed reading an eighteen-paragraph review that devotes three or four paragraphs to reviewing -- and fifteen to defending.
Are these kids such recognized artistic giants that they even rate Websites devoted to discussing how "Hanson Ate My Balls"? Perhaps a better question: Why is Mr. Baker telling those evil anti-Hanson types that they are "welcome to all the manure they can eat"?
When I sat down to read the article, I wanted to find out why (perhaps how) someone would consider these singers of "psychedelic cotton candy" (what's that?) as the "new Nirvana." Hence I was quite surprised to learn so little about the band and its music. Instead I learned of Mr. Baker's desire to "fur the frog" with pubescent teen Taylor Hanson. In fact, Mr. Baker informs us that he would be surprised if "any red-blooded American male" didn't share his desires.
In truth, I am saddened that Mr. Baker chose to devote his attention to attacking those heinous "legions of cool" who are being mean to those poor little boys. If he likes them so much, then perhaps he should make a Website to tell everyone. He could name it I Want Hanson to Eat My Balls. After doing that, Mr. Baker could return to reviewing rather than letting us know that if he were thirteen, he would "live and die" for the Hanson song "Lucy."
Marc A. Ross
Fool the Jury and Justice Be Damned
Criminal defense lawyer Luis Guerra suggests in your August 28 "Letters" section that Kirk Semple's article profiling the career of Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Udolf ("Witness for the Prosecution," August 21) was an exercise in silliness. According to Mr. Guerra, prosecutors like Udolf seek only to win at all costs, rather than seek justice. In his view, criminal defendants and the public "struggle" together against misguided prosecutors in a legal system where prosecutors "need only convince the jury that their initial intuition about the defendant's guilt is correct."
What a bunch of hooey! Thankfully, our legal system looks out for the rights of criminal defendants with protections such as the presumption of innocence and the privilege against self-incrimination -- people are not convicted based on one person's intuition. More important, with the possible exception of a few bad apples who should be in a different line of work, the vast majority of prosecutors recognize that their job is to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent -- in other words, to achieve justice.
Defense lawyers like Mr. Guerra, however, march to a different drummer. They are hired advocates, accountable first and foremost to the client. Guilt or innocence, of course, is unimportant. Defense lawyers are not there to do justice, as most of them will admit in moments of candor. They are there to beat the rap. As professor Steven Gillers said in a recent article in the New York Times: "They have no obligation to ensure that a not-guilty verdict is correct.... We tell the jury that the trial is a search for truth, [but] we never tell them that defense lawyers are obligated to fool them...."
Monique A. Reyna
Ronald's Rolaid Rantings
For laughs I always read Jen Karetnick, your pseudo-restaurant critic. One recent belly laugh started with her opening line: "I'm a notorious slob" ("Dress-Down Bliss," August 28). Oh so appetizing. Then she basically infers that she misses "piss-stained cement." What sophistication emanating from someone who dines out as a vocation.
Next she mentions -- in ordering a hamburger, of all things -- "unpleasant charring, tasting of an unclean grill." That should have been her message to depart the restaurant posthaste.
Her trite, banal, vapid descriptions of her food kept me laughing. "Succulent fish was laid on spunky mashed potatoes, making this dish a study in white." Was that off-white or antique white?
I'm quite sure none of New Times's readers, aside from those looking for humor, pay any attention to her Rolaid rantings.
What a blessed thing it is that Nature, when she invented her gastronomic delights, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left. Please, New Times, keep us laughing. That is the kind of bellyache we desire.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Ronald C. Rickey
Food Sucks? Service Sucks? Tip Sucks
Bravo for Jen Karetnick's taking to task the "power elite" restaurateurs here in Miami ("Good Grief," August 14). I too have been appalled at the simplest tasks being botched in an attempt to rate on the snob scale.
Great food, great service, great ambiance -- great tip.