Not Tough Enough to Rip Out the Throat of a Real Champ
Enough accolades already for Marcus "Conan" Silveira ("State of Gracie," December 14).
While he certainly deserves the credit that reporter Todd Anthony gave him for his recent Extreme Fighting victories, let us put his accomplishments in proper perspective.

First of all, neither of his opponents was near his weight, giving him a decisive (and unfair) advantage in that area. Second, the level of competition in U.F.C. spinoffs (by the way, U.F.C. stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship, not Challenge) such as "Battlecade" and "The World Combat Championships" is far beneath that of the original event. And finally, if "Conan" ever did face the likes of U.F.C. greats Daniel Severn, Ken Shamrock, or "Tank" Abbott, he would undoubtedly learn the true meaning of the word defeat.

Comparing "Conan" to these proven and battle-worthy competitors is analogous to comparing the Monkees with the Beatles, or Pierce Brosnan's 007 to that of Sean Connery's. If "Conan" ever again gets the golden opportunity to fight against one of the U.F.C.'s heralded champions, he should forgo his greed for the American dollar and concentrate instead on earning the right to compete in the big leagues.

Glenn Mehlman
Miami Beach

Hey, Buster, Speak English When You're Serving Me
Regarding Elise Ackerman's article "Remember: The Customer Is Always American" (December 7), about Office Depot's policy of having salespeople speak mainly English, I say great! More stores and companies should adopt such a policy. I cannot count the number of times I have stood waiting to pay for something while two clerks, or a clerk and a customer, chatted away in another language. If I moved to a primarily Spanish-speaking country, I certainly would not expect merchants to address me in English. Why should there be a problem here? People are abusing a significant portion of the population, as well as the country that adopted them. As for equal-opportunity regulations, how about an equal opportunity to be served in English?

Ann Reiger
Miami Beach

You Know That Phrase "Money Talks . . ."?
Elise Ackerman's article illustrates something I've seen during the past five years in every major city in which I've lived A Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, and now here. Los gringos are resentful of the presence of Latin people in the United States. They say, "It's bad enough we have blacks here, but now we gotta deal with them, too. We need them. Who else are we going to get as maids, janitors, and delivery people? Blacks don't do that stuff any more, and Asians are smart and have their own money. But when I go to the store to buy a calculator and some paper clips, I want an English-speaking person to help me, and I don't want them speaking Spanish while I'm around. They may be talking about me!"

I've figured out part of the resentment: Blacks and Mexicans arrived here without a penny, to do work whites considered beneath them. Cubans, South Americans, and others came here with their own money, and that allowed them to get everything they needed: food, housing, clothing.

Everyone else who needed money had to go to a bank. Years ago the people behind the desks at banks knew they could make you dance to their tune. But those who came here with their own money didn't have to A no bowing of heads to avoid eye contact, no coming in the side door or rear entrance crap. These were immigrant groups who didn't care who you were or how much you had. I'm sure that has pissed people off.

Get used to it. Latin families are usually big, so their numbers grow every year.

Name Withheld by Request
Miami Beach

No Gripes at Top-Cop Group
I write to express my appreciation to New Times for publishing "Copping a Profit" by Jason Vest (November 30). This article was carefully based on fact, was well written, and was balanced in its presentation. New Times has truly performed a public service by focusing its resources on the activities of Gerald Arenberg and his nefarious organizations.

Let me also take this opportunity to say how impressed I am with the professional conduct of reporter Jason Vest. I had the chance to work with him on this story on several different occasions, and he impressed me with his honesty, integrity, energy, and relentless pursuit of fact.

Daniel Rosenblatt, executive director
International Association of Chiefs of Police
Alexandria, Virginia

The Camacho Manifesto
Why is it that every time someone wants to criticize a deficiency in the American political system, he resorts to calling some aspect of it "socialism"? This is what D. Raymond Slaughter did in an angry letter to New Times (November 23) complaining about an idiotic municipal ordinance put in place by capitalist -- not socialist -- politicians and dealt with in an article entitled "Technical Knockout" by Robert Andrew Powell (November 16). Either Mr. Slaughter doesn't know what socialism really is, or he is indulging in a bit of sophistry -- or both.

Like Mr. Slaughter, socialists are opposed to so-called affirmative-action laws, but for different, more logical, reasons. Socialists know that reform measures such as Miami's minor-ity-participation ordinance are intended either to palliate the effects of the social inequities inherent in capitalism or to foster those same inequalities for the benefit of a sector of the capitalist ruling class. Either way, these reforms serve only to prop up capitalism, sagging under the weight of its own insoluble contradictions.

Unlike Mr. Slaughter, socialists realize that the social ills capitalist reforms are meant to address are the logical results of the capitalist system of wage labor. Racism, as we know it today, came about because "entrepreneurs" found a "creative solution" to the difficult problem of acquiring a cheap work force in order to conquer and colonize the newly discovered continent: They imported kidnapped Africans and bound them up into an oppressive system of colonial occupation and slavery. Four hundred years later, so-called postindustrial capitalism is having a hell of a time dealing with what mercantile capitalism begot. Worse yet, present-day capitalism feeds racism and a host of other social ills because it forces people into an environment of cutthroat competition for survival: impoverished worker against impoverished worker for fewer available jobs and welfare handouts; capitalist against worker for a larger share of the product of labor; capitalist against capitalist for greater access to dwindling markets and resources; nation against nation in a greedy and never-ending struggle for world markets and strategic one-upmanship.

Mr. Slaughter's indignation is misdirected and therefore wasted. If he and people like him used their appreciable intelligence, they would cry out against the indignities and injustices perpetrated by capitalists against the larger portion of humanity. They would set their fine minds and their strong hands to work at ending this insane profit system and building a sane social system based on cooperation and majority rule.

Chris Camacho


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