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A Dim View of Our Grammar

Posted 7/27/2005

There are three grammatical errors in your cover story (“A Place in the Sun,” July 13).

The sentence, “None of the dials is moving,” should read, “None of the dials are moving.”

Also, the sentence “A dead standstill” is not a complete sentence.

In addition, in my opinion, the following sentence is poorly worded: “Rather, it represents a small victory, both a personal one and one for something far beyond the personal.” The duplication of the word “one” is unnerving.

It is difficult to want to read a story when there are three errors in the first two paragraphs.

Natalie Salabes


White Balls

Given the history of racism in Maryland, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele should welcome the opportunity to knock some white balls around at the Elkridge Club whether or not he likes golf (Political Animal, July 13).

If the lieutenant governor believes that those arrested for playing “mixed” doubles in Druid Hill Park in 1948 really liked tennis or that those who integrated Gywnn Oak Park in 1964 did so because they liked the rides, he must believe that the Hon. Robert Bell risked his freedom and career because he liked the cuisine at Hooper’s Restaurant when he “sat-in” in 1960.

It is time for the lieutenant governor to exhibit some leadership and become relevant.

Anton J.S. Keating

So our governor has upset you, Brian Morton, by going to an all-white country club. What a crock of shit. I’m a middle-aged white mechanic from Dundalk with a GED. My family is from West Virginia, and guess what? I bet I couldn’t get in the fuckin’ club either. Not that I would want to!

How many clubs do blacks have that are all-black? And you waste your time writing about this. Please.

You should not even have a right to an opinion because your hatred for Republicans is so strong that if Hitler came back to life as a Democrat and ran against a Republican who happened to be Jesus Christ, you and your ilk would vote for fucking Hitler.

Wake up, black people. The government is not your friend. Never has been and never will be. Both political parties suck. The whole system sucks. The middle class is on its own. Don’t expect help from Big Brother.

You want to be a success, start a small business, keep your dick in your pants, and speak proper English. Our young people walk around with their underwear hanging out, adopt that ignorant rap/hip-hop culture, say “ax” instead of “ask,” and wonder why they can’t get a fuckin’ job. Give me a break.

In closing, I admit I vote Republican, not because I like them, but [because] 95 percent of blacks vote Democrat, and I figure that’s because the Dems promise the blacks free shit. If you want to make it, you have to depend on yourself. Ronald Reagan said it best: Government is the problem, not the solution.

If it makes you feel better, just go ahead and call Mr. Steele an Uncle Tom if you want. You know you want to, don’t ya? Come on, admit it. What could be worse than a (gasp) black Republican? That’s almost as bad as a Nazi or a child molester.

John Irwin


Terror Not Random

Again Russ Smith plays the role of Bush administration mouthpiece (Right Field, July 13): “[T]he terrorist attacks in Kenya, Nairobi [sic], and the U.S.S. Cole were carried out by fanatics who hated the Western world’s culture, not a specific Washington administration.” Whether one claims the United States is under attack because of “our freedom” or “culture,” one obfuscates.

Associate Professor Robert Pape of the University of Chicago has authored a book on suicide terrorism, Dying to Win, which points out that, overwhelmingly, suicide terrorist attacks are driven by the occupation of a homeland. Since 1990, the Pentagon has stationed tens of thousands of ground troops on the Arabian peninsula, and in response al-Qaida has been on the attack. Al-Qaida also opposes the U.S. government’s support of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians and, since March 2003, the occupation of Iraq. Any attempt to mislead readers or the voters as to al-Qaida’s rationale for its attacks is dangerous, as well as counterproductive.

Later in the article Smith makes another simplistic comment: “Let’s ignore . . . the vocal critics of the president who blindly hate Bush and oppose, automatically, any action, no matter how benign, the administration takes.” As someone who opposed the Bush administration policies from the very beginning, I have no hatred of George W. Bush. His behavior bemuses me, but of more concern are his economic policies, which are designed to benefit the elite to the detriment of the average citizen and the poor, and his imperialistic wars, designed to ensure world dominance by the United States. So I do not protest George W. Bush, but his abominable policies.

Max Obuszewski

By whipping up the “fear factor” to a fever pitch, right-wing apologist Russ Smith would seemingly argue that the Bush administration’s global jihad upon basic human rights (Abu Ghraib prison), legal due process (Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility), and our basic civil liberties (the Patriot Act) is wholly and completely justified in the pursuit of our enemies.

Like many of the “patriots” who wrap themselves in the flag, Smith is unable (or refuses to) discern reality from fiction. Though the attack dogs at Fox News and CNN may twist the facts, the basic truth is that the Middle East quagmire we now find ourselves in began not as a war of necessity, but rather a war of choice. Prior to the American military’s invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s forces posed little threat to the security of our country. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no ability to produce nuclear or biological weapons and delivery systems. More over, the United Nations’ sanctions, though imperfect, were succeeding in reining in Hussein and his generals.

Far from improving the security of America and our allies, Bush’s ill-conceived “crusade” has played right into the hands of our enemies, by adding fire to the Muslim fundamentalists’ claims that the United States is bent upon destroying Islam. One could not ask for a better tool to recruit would-be fighters and suicide bombers. Furthermore, the tragedies that unfolded first in Madrid and now in London prove that, far from being in “its final throes” as Dick Cheney boasted, the conflict in Iraq has gone global. Finally, whether Mr. Smith likes it or not, the inferno raging in Iraq is all too similar to America’s failed war in Vietnam. The illusory weapons of mass destruction in Iraq are this administration’s bombing in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Years from now, many Americans will look back at our nation’s headlong dash into this unjust war and will see all too clearly that Mr. Bush reaped what he sowed: a bitter crop of death, brutality, and wasted opportunities.

Joshua Speiser


A Gas

Just read this week’s column “Gas Huff” (Mr. Wrong, July 13) while on my lunch break and laughed out loud. As a resident of Baltimore for over 13 years, I have never owned a car. I bike or walk everywhere and I find all this “news” (?) regarding gas prices funny as hell.

When can I see a CNN report on how people are upset by a $13 martini? Maybe we need to build cars that run on Grey Goose?

Thanks for the laughter!

Mark A. Vitelli



Joe MacLeod’s article discussing gasoline prices contained so many curse words it was “inflammatory,” and I couldn’t process what else he was saying since his overuse of obscenities “burned” me up. Meanwhile, Ralph Brave’s article on solar panels (“A Place in the Sun,” July 13) was so “enlightening” it raised my hopes for a “brighter” future.

Carl Kupfer
Owings Mills


Arm Yourself

I am so sorry that your brother was murdered (“The City That Needs,” The Mail, July 13). It is so sad that in the United States of America citizens will not stand up to the criminals in their neighborhood. But it is also true, sadly, that Baltimore City citizens simply cannot do it. They will be slaughtered. No honest citizen has the ability to defend themselves, let alone defend their families. Their ability to do that was long ago surrendered by Democratic Party politicians. They gave up their right to keep and bear arms. So now they are sheep waiting passively for their turn to cry.

John C. Benwell


Penguin Lover

Whose idea was it to have Ian Grey review March of the Penguins (Film Clips, July 13)? His review makes it clear that he has no interest at all in animals or nature in general. He also must be sorely lacking in visual sensitivity if he finds the film “artless.” As a documentary it has some weaknesses, but that is not one of them. I am glad I ignored City Paper’s view and went to see this beautiful movie.

Elizabeth Burin

Speaking Ill

I am writing to you in regards to an article published in City Paper on June 22, 2005 (“Election Nights of the Living Dead”). The article was written by Van Smith and went into detail about a group of Johns Hopkins University students who had discovered that, somehow, deceased Baltimoreans were listed as having cast their ballots. Included in the said departed was a relative of mine, Louis Tirabassi.

What was printed read as follows:

Louis Tirabassi (1960-2001) died at Grand View Hospital in Bucks County, Pa., after nearly two decades of racking up criminal charges in Baltimore City for theft, assault, battery, drugs, guns, and soliciting prostitution. About 14 months later, he apparently voted from his East Pratt Street voting address in Highlandtown, in the 46th District.


My reason for writing is that I feel that you dragged my cousin’s name through the mud, and it was unnecessary. Yes, my cousin had his problems. Yes, he had a criminal record. However, it is rather obvious that this has nothing to do with the rest of the article. I feel that you are doing a disservice to his memory. I don’t think that you knew Louie Tirabassi; if you did, you wouldn’t have printed such things about him. Why rustle the dead if they cannot defend themselves? Louie was not a bad person, he merely had his flaws, just as everyone does. His just happened to be more pronounced than most. The comments made about him were uncalled for.

Aside from this, I feel that it is sloppy journalism. I am a journalist myself, and though I may not be as seasoned as Mr. Smith, it is not hard to see that he was reaching for something. It is in my opinion that Mr. Smith was trying to sensationalize an already interesting story.

The next time a member of the City Paper staff wants to take their story from legitimate news to A Current Affair, please don’t do it at the expense of my family’s reputation. We love our cousin Louie, and this was a slap in the face not only to him, but to our whole family. I have been a reader of City Paper for several years, but this has left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m sorry to say that you’ve lost a reader.

Joseph Tirabassi
New York


Rubbing the Wrong Way

I am currently a student at the Baltimore School of Massage. I am also an avid reader of your paper. I love the articles and all the community information that it provides. However, I was very disappointed by something I noticed last week. In the classified section under “Massage and Relaxation,” you have many ads that are clearly of a sexual nature (even though they claim to be “nonsexual”). This is very saddening to me. Massage therapy has come a long way from the sexual stereotypes of the past, however it is clear that we still have a long way to go. At the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, research is being performed on the benefits of massage. These studies are showing that people with many conditions and ailments can benefit from massage.

Please help a growing and very well-intended profession continue to grow and provide effective therapy to those who need it. If people associate massage with adult entertainment, then those who may benefit the most will continue to stay away for fear of being seen as participating in lewd or even illegal behavior.

I am not writing to criticize City Paper, I just want to bring you awareness about a topic that most people do not have a lot of accurate knowledge about. I also hate to criticize without offering a solution. I thought that if you wanted to keep those type of ads you could just put them underneath the heading of relaxation by itself.

Thank you again for publishing an alternative paper. I will continue to enjoy it, and I look forward to a response to my comments.

Bronwyn J. Haden


Editor Lee Gardner responds: How we administer our classified ads, and why we do it that way, is quite literally not my department, but you make a good point.


Editor’s note: With this issue, news editor Erin Sullivan ascends to managing editor. She will be keeping her Mobtown Beat duties but also taking on new responsibilities and new editing challenges, the results of which will hopefully be evident in these pages in the months to come. We offer our congratulations and wish her the best of luck.

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