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Horrid, Misguided Cartoon

The two of us are shocked, saddened and outraged as a result of the irresponsibility displayed by the L.A. Weekly in publishing a horrid, misguided cartoon by Carol Lay in your August 29–September 4 edition, in which a Sikh American is depicted as a member of al Qaeda and/or as an associate of Osama bin Laden.

Without question, America’s entire Sikh community — including its many members who reside here in Los Angeles — has suffered immensely since 9/11/01 as a result of “mistaken identity,” which has generated hate crimes and hate language based on misinformation and wrongheaded stereotyping. This infliction of harm all around us continues day by day.

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Your foolishly publishing such a misleading and inaccurate piece of trash can only add to the misconceptions and confusion, which cause such emotional and physical injury to befall the Sikh community.

Ever since 9/11/01, thousands of innocent Sikh Americans have been abused and assaulted — some among them have even been murdered — because of their religiously mandated appearance, which includes the wearing of a turban and its men displaying full beards.

The Sikh faith, which is the world’s fifth largest religion, is unique, and — although most others are unaware of the differences — it has absolutely no connection to Islam, to terrorists, etc.

We can only hope that your allowing this hideous cartoon to appear was an act of ignorance and not an intentional act of bigotry and/or hatred.

We encourage you to further educate yourselves, your staff and your readers about the world around you, and particularly about this matter, so that this mistake is never, ever repeated again.

—Rabbi Allen I. Freehling Executive Director City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission

—Nirinjan Singh Khalsa Chair Human Relations Commission’s Faith Leaders Advisory Board

Gloria in Excess

I just read Nikki Finke’s article concerning Gloria Allred’s call for Arnold Schwarzenegger to answer questions about his Oui interview [Deadline Hollywood, September 5–11]. The behavior described by Arnold made me ill. I deplore that kind of behavior, and I was outraged by Bill Clinton’s behavior. But there are few people who care about this anymore. It seems a little late to start asking men to behave in honorable ways toward women. Women have been more than willing to make a dollar off of their bodies and souls, and many have become quite famous for it. Was this lone naked woman kidnapped or was it her choice? The truth of America’s decline in regard for women and women’s regard for themselves was made so clear when Bill Clinton was given a pass on his behavior in the White House. Now they are concerned about Arnold’s past behavior? I read that some of the usual Hollywood Democrats were warning that Arnold’s past will come back to get him. I am sorry, but it is Hollywood and women themselves who have made barnyard behavior acceptable. It is very clear what is important to America, and it isn’t moral behavior. They are concerned only about economics. We get what we deserve.

—Marcella Paliekara Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

 

Allred attacking the Terminator about sex in 1977? Ha, ha. Feminists like Gloria were telling gals in 1977 that sex was liberating, and the more guys, the freer we were. (Hmmm. Did she miss out?) Still, the real question is: Where was microphone-addicted Gloria when Clinton was screwing interns and employees? Frankly, we’re bored with her. Yawn. Her transparent politicized double standard reeks of arrogant stupidity. Yawn. We’ll take Arnold’s energy over her whining any day. Now, that’s liberating.

—H. Bryden Santa Barbara

 

Nikki Finke’s column on the media and their failure to properly cover Arnold was brilliant. FYI, I wrote the Premiere magazine piece on Arnold. The Los Angeles Times called and asked if I would like to give them a few tips as to where to look in Arnold’s past. They did not want to hire me, just wanted a working journalist to give away his information and sources. I think that establishes that they are not very serious in their reporting on Arnold. Again, great work by Nikki.

—John Connolly New York City

 

In view of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s interview with Oui, how about a bumper sticker: “Schwarzenegger, Gangbanger for Governor.”

—Carol R. Hollas Laguna Niguel

I believe Arnold Schwarzenegger when he proclaims himself a conservative. After all, he was praised by Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich and is making the rounds of all the right-wing radio talk shows. Since as governor he would be campaigning to elect as many Republicans as possible, most of whom are anti-abortion, anti-gay and pro–National Rifle Association, the cynical ploy of his campaign team to portray him as a moderate to Democrats and independents is the height of hypocrisy. No thanks, Arnold, we’ve had enough of your True Lies.

—Marty Levine Los Angeles

Out of Right Field

I was shocked to see Howard Dean on your cover [“Out of Left Field,” August 29–September 4]. As interesting as the phenomenon of Dean’s dark-horse candidacy may be, his politics certainly run contrary to the progressive values long espoused by your paper.

A rundown of some of Dean’s record, policies and statements: a 100 percent rating from the NRA; support of the death penalty; an anti-environment/pro–big business record in Vermont (IBM, the leading polluter in Vermont, received Dean’s Environmental Achievement Award nine times); sending Vermont’s nuclear waste to the poor, mostly Hispanic town of Sierra Blanca, Texas, 16 miles from the Mexican border — a plan described as “blatant environmental racism” by Paul Wellstone; opposition to Israeli Labor Party candidate for prime minister Amram Mitzna’s call for unconditional peace talks with the Palestinians; and this assessment by Annette Smith of Vermonters of a Clean Environment, who says: “Dean’s attempt to run for president as an environmentalist is nothing but a fraud. He’s destroyed the Agency of Natural Resources, he’s refused to meet with environmentalists while constantly meeting with developers, and he’s made the permitting process one, big dysfunctional joke. EP under Governor Dean meant Expedite Permits, not Environmental Protection.”

Dean is to be commended for running a grassroots campaign and for his tough line of questioning surrounding Bush’s rush to war with Iraq. However, Dean is conservative at the core. I encourage L.A. Weekly readers who support Dean to take a good look at the true progressive in the race, the one candidate who has co-sponsored single-payer universal-health-care legislation, who rallied two-thirds of the Democrats to vote against the war in Congress, and who authored legislation to establish a Cabinet-level Department of Peace: Ohio Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich.

—Eric Forst Culver City

 

In her article about Howard Dean, “Out of Left Field,” Jamie Wolf does a great job of allowing the reader to see her innermost thoughts — thoughts that should remain just that. This country needs people like Doctor Dean who have committed their lives to the people of this country and have the power to energize the electorate. Dean is changing the way we look at our politicians. Maybe Ms. Wolf should go back and read Theodore Roosevelt’s speech on “The Strenuous Life.” In order to build better communities in this country, as Dean proposes, we need more participation and less observation.

—Michael H. Kelly Los Angeles

Lettuce Gag

One should applaud Michelle Huneven for championing “a healthful alternative to the usual wash of hydrogenated oils and sugar and beef raised in environmentally damaging circumstances” in her review of McDonald’s new salads [“Fast-Food Lettuce,” August 29-September 4], if only because such concerns are religiously jettisoned from most restaurant reviews. But one must also point out that the McDonald’s chicken-, pork- and dairy product-loaded salads she champions as being that alternative are nothing of the kind. Salads stuffed with bacon, cheese, eggs, “crusty fried chicken” and smothered in bacon ranch or Caesar dressing do not a healthful alternative make, and the pigs, chickens and cows drafted to provide them are raised in circumstances equally or more damaging than the lot of any beef steer. Anyone whom Huneven’s review persuades that McDonald’s salads are ethically or nutritionally superior to their standard offerings is being grievously misled. When you order from the menu of a fast-food joint, you are getting fast food.

Huneven finds “a stray leaf of maroon radicchio” in her salad and thinks: “Alice Waters’ fresh-food revolution has finally come home.” For this observation, Ms. Huneven is surely due a generous check from the McDonald’s marketing department (and Ms. Waters is due an apology from Ms. Huneven), as that is, of course, the reaction they were aiming for, without the requirement that it be based on reality. Let us gag.

—Andrew Christie North Hollywood

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