Inner City, Outer Beauty
I'd like to thank New Times for Judy Cantor and Steve Satterwhite's extraordinary article, "The People's Gallery (July 16), about our inner-city wall paintings. I have lived in Liberty City for 30 years and have never read anything as uplifting as this article.

Not one newspaper in Miami has dedicated a front page to the beauty of Liberty City; they only concern themselves with the violence. Now everyone can clearly see that there is beauty, true beauty, in our inner city. Thank you very much.

Felicia Ward
Liberty City

Editor's note: An expanded selection of Steve Satterwhite's photographs from "The People's Gallery" (sixteen total, all in color) can be viewed at our Website, where the article is permanently archived. The address:

He's Got a Feeling About the Facts About Daryl Jones
After reading Jim DeFede's article "Dog Fight" (July 16), I watched the grilling of Daryl Jones by the Senate Armed Services Committee on television and I didn't like what I saw. DeFede presented a strong technical argument against Jones's nomination, but this is one that's going to come back and bite us.

First of all, there were no African Americans on the panel of pilots brought to testify against Jones. All were white as rice and hostile toward Jones. They weren't hostile because of substandard evaluations (the two officers under whom Jones had served -- including Col. Thomas Dyches -- had given him high marks), but because, as one pilot admitted, "We didn't know who Daryl Jones was."

This was obviously a tight-knit, good-old-boy group with predisposed and very subdued (perhaps unspoken) reservations about black pilots. What kind of message is that sending to black children across America who might want to become fighter pilots? I'll tell you: "Blacks aren't cut out to be fighter pilots. Stick to basketball."

Second, I found Colonel Dyches to be very egotistical. He reminded me of a guy who shows up at your house about 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning with a ten-pound Bible. I am not a fact hound like DeFede, but I can tell you that what happened between Dyches and Jones was more a personality clash than anything else. Yes, Dyches technically grounded Jones, but it was Jones who made the decision not to put in the requisite hours. Ergo Jones grounded himself. Why do we have to be so technical?

And finally, something tells me the air force knew it was putting Jones in a hostile environment and that he'd be forced to retaliate in some fashion, whether through somewhat dishonest measures or through what some would interpret as arrogance. Think of Jones as following in the footsteps of Jackie Robinson, but instead of baseball it's the good-old-boy network of lily-white, top-gun pilots. Who wouldn't lie just a little? Who wouldn't fight back? I know I sure as hell would. Of course, Dyches wouldn't. He's too busy waving that air force regulation book in our faces.

The saddest part about my theory is that it is subjective; it can't be proven. But hate is also subjective, yet hate is a very real thing. I guess America is willing to watch Will Smith playing the hero pilot role and flying across our movie screens but is unwilling to allow Daryl Jones to lead the air force into the 21st Century.

Yes, Jim DeFede, the facts are on your side, but the whole thing pisses me off. And feeling never takes a back seat to fact in my book.

Manny Losada

The Well-Lubricated DeFede
It has been quite some time since I have experienced such truth in journalism. Jim DeFede grabs the reader in the first two sentences of every article. He has a true depth of understanding, plus his work reads so fluidly.

I happened to see your Website purely by accident and was blown away by the talent on staff. I am now an avid reader.

Tom Mayrose
New York

It's 3:00 a.m. -- Do You Know Where Your Raving Daughter Is?
This letter is in response to Nina Korman's article "Ravaged by the Rave" (July 16). Quite frankly, she doesn't have enough experience with the rave scene to write an article about it.

I believe that her argument against raves was drugs. In every paragraph she mentioned drugs, their effects, et cetera. That is not what raves are about, Ms. Korman. I've been promoting raves for three years now, and let me tell you, I have never "rolled" on Ecstasy in my life. Everyone has a choice whether to do drugs, and I can tell you that the majority of people at my parties do not do drugs. They are out there to dance their asses off and have a good time.

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