Re: Doug Ireland’s “Dating the Anti-Gay Backlash” [August 8–14]. I don’t know what is more pathetic, the retrograde hatefulness of the current “gay backlash” or the screechy, pushy tactics from left-wing gays that caused it. Yes, it’s amazing that nearly three and a half decades after Stonewall we are still arguing such basic precepts as the right of consenting adults to have privacy in their bedrooms and the need for government and business not to discriminate socially or economically against any of its citizens.

But let’s face it: Gays have long taken those battles as basically won. And they basically were. How often do people really get convicted under arcane sodomy laws? Haven’t most major employers adopted “domestic partnership” policies to extend the same insurance and other benefits to its gay employees that everyone else enjoys? Instead of building methodically on those gains while maintaining a positive public image, GLAAD and other gay political organizations have been waging war on any public or private group that espouses religious convictions that do not accept homosexuality (and that’s most of them). They have defended explicit sexual messages in advertising and promoted homosexual education to schoolchildren. Quiet assimilation has long been discarded as a goal by gay leadership in favor of in-your-face queer activism.

Just how many Boy Scout troops need to be starved into extinction through loss of funding from charities and government agencies? How explicit do “safe sex” ads have to be? How young must schoolchildren be to be given condoms and taught about “alternative lifestyles”? This is not about what’s right or fair. The fact is that if a group has yet to communicate its basic right to exist, then it certainly isn’t ready to take on such sacred institutions as the Boy Scouts, public schools and marriage. Sounds like the gay mafia needs the services of a good consigliere.

—Tony Blass


I’m so tired of Erin Aubry Kaplan’s paranoia and knee-jerk faux radicalism that I may have to start breaking windows. Let me get this straight: Kaplan is actually complaining that the Stop the Violence/ Increase the Peace Foundation implored Inglewood residents not to riot after the Jeremy Morse verdicts [“Quiet Riot,” Cakewalk, August 8–14]? Yeah, those damn sellouts, how dare they imply there might be a riot after a police officer is not found guilty for beating up a black person! Instead of bitching about how people perceive the Inglewood community, maybe Kaplan ought to be grateful that, as riots and crime decrease and nonviolent protest increases, the perception is likely to change. The verdict sucked, and Jeremy Morse sucks, but riots suck too. Kaplan is so caught up in looking for racism everywhere that she misses the real story — that Inglewood residents protested loudly and visibly, that there was no riot (no thanks to Kaplan) and that Morse will likely be retried.

—Abe Fabrizio
Long Beach


There are two points to be made in response to Kaplan’s piece. First, her statement “Last week’s acquittal of Morse . . .” is incorrect and she knows it, since later in the article she acknowledges that the case will be retried. The jury hung on the conviction of Morse, and a mistrial was declared. Second, all the talk about rioting and the pre-emptive moves to quell possible rioting is based on an underlying assumption that anything other than a conviction of Morse will be a denial of justice. If Morse is convicted, not because the evidence presented to the jury compels it but because the jury fears an acquittal will lead to rioting, what sort of justice is that?

—David M. Marcus
Los Angeles


I want to commend the outstanding article written by Jeffrey Anderson entitled “Ghosts in the Machine” [July 4–10]. The article had a tremendous effect on the lives of these individuals. Since the article’s release, Vera Reyes was released pending his appeal. Moreover, Mr. Leyva’s case has been closed so that he may seek release from the district director. This is a miracle because the judge could have denied any relief to him and made him appeal, a course that would have resulted in negative results for Mr. Leyva. Mario Avendano has also been released, but I do not know the terms of it, so I cannot report.

This demonstrates the power of the press. But I believe only a good writer could have had this effect; therefore, I am giving great thanks for the tremendous effort of Mr. Anderson for his major contribution in this respect. Please give him my thanks.

—Kathy Owen


Nikki Finke’s “Barbarian at the Gate” article [Deadline Hollywood, August 15–21], about how Arnold’s candidacy provides “air cover” for Democratic/progressive/Hollywood types, was well-argued. However, I’d disagree with Finke where she says Streisand, Sheen, Sarandon, Robbins, Penn and Garofalo, et al., are no better- or worse-qualified than Arnold to run for public office. Although I’m not necessarily voting for him (Lord knows, we have enough Republicans) Schwarzenegger has qualifications the others don’t: 1. He helped run and pass an afterschool initiative last year. 2. He has a college degree in business. Streisand is a proud graduate of Brooklyn’s Erasmus Hall High School, while Sheen’s Internet Movie Database biography begins, “Purposely flunked his college entrance exam to the University of Dayton so that he could pursue an acting career instead.”

—Michael Goldstein
Sherman Oaks


Re: “Cramming in Ramallah” [August 8–14]. Next time Nancy Updike visits with her friend Dr. Mohammed Dajani, who is conducting “the first American Studies graduate program in the occupied territories,” she might consider telling him that the only way to influence American policy is to educate his students so that they rid themselves and other Palestinians of their commitment to Israel’s destruction, and affirmatively accept the reality of two independent states living side by side in peace and harmony.

—George Magit


Re: “It’s the Governor, Dahling” [Dissonance, August 1–7], the Green Party’s Peter Camejo has worked for years to build broad support of an agenda consisting of the very issues that Marc Cooper credits to Arianna Huffington. It is appalling that you would call upon Mr. Camejo to do “the right thing” and step down in favor of this self-proclaimed ringmaster of the Brentwood political circuit. (Or would that be “circus”?)

Furthermore, while Mr. Camejo is willing to embrace the issues of marijuana legalization and instant runoff voting, they absolutely do not occupy the top one, three or even five of his personal issues, as Mr. Cooper so erroneously states. A brief visit to votecamejo.org will set the record straight.

—Michael Carr
Los Angeles


It was a blast to read Howard Blume’s tribute to my friend Gregory Hines [“A Great Soul of Tap,” August 15–21], especially the part about his working at a guitar shop during his transitional period. He was performing with his cool band Severance at night and sat around my shop, Guitar Workshop, on Main and Hill, taking guitars down from the wall and practicing his latest riff. Gregory didn’t have two nickels to rub together, and, quite honestly, if my bookkeeper, Helaine, hadn’t bought him soup from the Boulangerie, I don’t think Gregory would have eaten that day. When things got slow, Gregory and I would pass around a football. He’d play at being an NFL wide receiver and outrun the Hill Street bus to make his patented “highlight film” catches. I remember the day he told me that his brother Maurice wanted Gregory to join him in the successful Broadway show Eubie. It was a life-changing opportunity, and Gregory and I talked about whether or not he should take it as we passed the ball around. Although Gregory Hines was a terrible guitar salesman, I truly loved the guy. He was a world-class performer, world-class human being and a damn good wide receiver to boot.

—Bob Baxter


Last week, the photograph of farmer Ken Arno on Page 14 (Considerable People, August 22–28) was miscredited. The image was shot by Slobodan Dimitrov.


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