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Posted 10/11/2006

Twas a great joy, as a longtime professor of organic chemistry, to see a benzene ring on the cover of the "Speed Bump" issue (Oct. 4). But I was disappointed to see that Australian Nobel Prize-winning chemist A.J. Birch's name was misspelled (his name should be reduced by one extraneous "t"), and the greater part of the article's contents was the usual hysterical BS that serves little or no social good and mostly attracts more masochistic moths to the flames of ignorant and risky street "drug" consumption. (Maybe the author is being paid a bonus by the Mexican drug cartels?) Some of the stories were totally out of character with the pharmacological properties of methamphetamine: e.g., a week-long blackout??!! This is like attributing a state of general anesthesia to a cup of espresso! (Maybe the line of amphetamine was washed down with a quart of vodka?) Still . . . thanks for the benzene ring! The ghost of Kekulé smiles on City Paper!

Daniel M. Perrine

The writer is the author of The Chemistry of Mind-Altering Drugs: History, Pharmacology, and Cultural Context.

Part Of The Solution

I wish to respond to the "Best Drug Rehab" coverage in the Best of Baltimore edition of City Paper (Sept. 20). I hope to clarify the important contributions of Baltimore Behavioral Health (BBH) in our community and resolve inaccuracies reported to your readers.


BBH is a non-stock, not-for-profit corporation with IRS 501(c)3 charitable status. As such, BBH is governed by a board of directors, and accordingly, William K. Hathaway and myself are not owners of the corporation.

BBH is a behavioral health care agency, specializing in psychiatric services for those also suffering from co-occurring substance abuse and addiction.

BBH has contributed millions of dollars in free food, clothing, shelter, and treatment to the citizens of Baltimore and continues to do so, $2.6 million in 2005.

BBH is not grant-funded.

BBH actively hires from the immediate communities in which it operates, supports the living-wage initiative, and guarantees all full-time employees full health and dental benefits.

BBH makes every effort to give treatment on demand to those in need so they can become productive citizens in their community. Our definition of success is saving one life at a time.

A wise man once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." I have made every effort in my life to do this, and thanks to BBH, I have the opportunity to make a difference. Baltimore City is ranked in the top five cities in the United States in HIV and AIDS. I volunteer on the Baltimore City Commission on HIV/AIDS, as well as a number of other boards that address the needs of the citizens of Baltimore and the state of Maryland.

Every leader and citizen in this city has a responsibility to create a healthy community and make a difference. BBH has helped to save and turn tens of thousands of lives around. We are a catalyst for change in our community. With over tens of thousands identified as addicts in the Baltimore City community, every neighborhood should collectively address the need for prevention/intervention and treatment on demand. Therefore, the drug trade that exists within our community affects everyone. BBH and the Baltimore Police Department cannot completely eradicate the drug trade in our community. This would require everyone in the immediate area to join in and make an effort.

Within this community there are other service providers who serve the same clients as BBH. They are the Mayor's Office of Employment Development, the Maryland Division of Neighborhood Revitalization, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city Department of Social Services, and Harbor City Unlimited. This community is also rich with community associations, churches, and various businesses such as the B&O Museum and the University of Maryland.

BBH is turning lives around, we are part of the solution addressing the needs of this community and the needs of the citizens of Baltimore, but we cannot do it alone. We believe that there is no such thing as a spare individual and we all at different times in our lives need a second chance to start over. When we build for a better future we create a greater city for our families. To quote President John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." In a time of great suffering, war, poverty and homelessness, when diseases and hunger are threatening this nation, it is time that we all come together to make a difference and not be overly critical of those of us who are. Our patients are able to lift themselves up and return to their families with dignity and a new start.

Terry T. Brown
Vice President, Resource Development, Baltimore Behavioral Health

Will I Vote?

I read Brian Morton's "Run and Hide" (Political Animal, Sept. 27) and chewed on a Gas-X pill to prevent the atmosphere in my bedroom from having a scent of highly processed foods escaping from me without a fart-bang. Politics in Maryland is stinking, and the stinking politics is sucking the oxygen out of a lot of people's brains who do not believe that racism encourages voter fraud and separation of the races.

As an Afrocentric feminist, I believe that U.S. Senate candidate Michael Steele has made himself into a little black "Sambo," because Steele is eating up the "white is right" religious politics of George W. Bush, demonic-influenced Dick Cheney, and assumed piquant character Karl Rove.

As a Roman Catholic, I don't need a Southern Baptist white Jesus to tell me about the virtues of truth when President Bush and his staff are liars who have not realized they are not saved by grace. Proverbs 28:5.

Somewhere I heard tell that President Ronald Reagan once said he did not need blacks to win an election. I believe Steele is telling poor black folks and poor working black folks that he does not need our vote or participation in the voting process of his political campaign because he knows most of us will not be going to the polls in November to vote for anybody--waste no money where the sun don't shine.

In the book The African-American Odyssey: Volume Two--Since 1865, by Darlene Clark Hine, William C. Hine, and Stanley Harrold, the authors have written: "the political landscape of the 1980s and the 1990s was thus marked by a realignment and a hardening of ideological conflict between liberal and progressive Democrats on one side and conservative Republicans on the other. . . . White southerners opposed to the change wrought by the civil rights movement, and white northerners angry at school busing, affirmative action programs and the tax burden they associated with welfare were a key part of this coalition"--powerful political organizations that found a home in the Republican Party.

Will I vote in November? I have not decided because I am angry that lazy black folks did not go out to the polls to vote for Kweisi Mfume. Maryland is still a slave state, with black folks still living like slaves who are afraid to leave the white plantation of white supremacy.

Ben Cardin is a good man. He should be our next U.S. senator from Maryland. It might be worth my going to the polls to vote. We'll see.
Larnell Custis Butler

The Life Un-Examiner-ed

In the last edition of City Paper, I read an article about The Examiner newspaper being delivered to certain sections of town even after the residents called and complained ("Can't Stop, Won't Stop," Mobtown Beat, Sept. 27).

I recently wrote The Examiner with a suggestion, but I doubt they will even consider it because it is a good suggestion. I asked them to stop making their home deliveries to the affluent sections of town and put the papers in the boxes on the streets instead.

Just drive around town on any given morning and look at all the empty boxes they have. It has been two weeks since I have been able to personally get a copy of the paper out of a box. The only way that I get to see it now is to wait until someone leaves one lying around work.

I think stopping home delivery and putting them in the boxes instead would make residents happy and make some of us who like to read the paper happy as well, even if it has the worst sports section I have ever seen in a newspaper--it is always a day late and a dollar short.

But I know I can count on City Paper being in the boxes every Wednesday morning. I have been working downtown for 32 years, and the only time I have ever missed an edition of City Paper is when I leave for vacation, and by the time I get back, that week's paper is gone.
Michael Weese

Oh my, it does get old--the righteous indignation of the "haves" when given more than they want.

Those who prefer life unexamined should quit kvetching. And get creative.

Here are some suggestions:

1) Just pick up the morning Examiner and toss it in your trash.

2) Stash it with your other paper recyclables.

3) Deliver a weekly collection of your neighborhood's UNREAD Examiners to the newspaper's office in downtown Baltimore. (No fair reading the comics or doing the sudoku puzzle first.)

4) Redistribute unwanted Examiners to "have-not" neighborhoods, i.e., those that demographics have deemed unworthy of the examined life. Let them read what they're missing.

The Examiner, on the other hand, could:

1) Pay $1 for each Examiner in pristine condition, i.e., UNREAD, still BAGGED or FOLDED, brought to the newspaper's office within two weeks of publication. This ought to get streets and sidewalks cleared of the papers. And quickly.

2) Install recycle bins for The Examiner in target neighborhoods.

3) Charge the carrier $1 for each paper left outside more than one day. (This should get carriers to honor do-not-deliver requests.)

Complaints countered with empty promises get no one anywhere. Bottom line: Try something new.

Mary Adams-Lackey

Editor's note: With a new Comics Contest comes a new Comics Contest winner (turn to page 16), which means that we now bid adieu to last year's winner, Valerie Crosswhite's Shabby Tabby. Turn to page 69 for a last round of repartee.

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