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First Lady Fantasies

Posted 8/20/2003

Brian Morton has issues when Maryland's first lady, Kendel Ehrlich, blames the press for her husband's problems (Political Animal, Aug. 13). He may be right, but I'll bet he jumped on the bandwagon of another national first lady, a no-talent enabling shill for her husband with her Right wing conspiracy theory. I can imagine him now, pants around his ankles, saying, "You go girl, yeah that's it, baby, don't stop, arrrggh!!!!"

What a hypocrite.

C.D. Wilmer

More About the Dick

The letter in the Aug. 6 issue gave yet another link in the trail to John Dillinger's appendage (The Mail). What Mr. James Aguire visited in 1968 was not a side hall of the Smithsonian but the Army Medical Museum that was formerly on the Mall. (This museum was the original source of both the National Library of Medicine and Index Medicus. If you are not in the health field, take my word for it, these are two biggies.) The Army Medical Museum soon moved into the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology on the grounds of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It also changed its name to the National Museum of Health and Medicine. While the museum has a big collection of Civil War artifacts and lots of babies in jars, whether Dillinger's dick rests herein is a mystery yet to be solved.

Lewis Lorton

Main Street Messiah

City Councilman Robert Curran (D-3rd District) has taken some heat for his comments in the City Paper concerning the negative effects of storefront churches on Harford Road (Campaign Beat, Aug. 6).

Instead of being vilified, Councilman Curran should be applauded. These "storefront" churches have become a bane to commercial development and an annoyance to the communities in which they sit. They generally have very little, if anything, to do with the neighborhoods they reside in, other than taking up parking and blocking driveways and streets wherever the mood may strike them. A majority of the parishioners reside in other communities and only "visit" us when they go to church. Additionally, the churches use city services and don't pay property tax, further burdening the "locals" as we pay for their tax-free existence.

Let me give you a specific example of what Mr. Curran was speaking about. Take the one-mile stretch of Harford between Parkside/Argonne and Echodale. Thirty percent or more of the retail square footage is owned or controlled by non-taxpaying churches. Thirty percent! That's a big pile of taxes.

We have to restrict these storefront churches in our commercial areas if we are ever to achieve any sort of revitalization. You may disagree, but how many thriving commercial districts have these places within them? None leaps to mind.

I cheer and support Mr. Curran for having the strength of character to speak the truth.

Jeff Sattler

Executive Director, Neighborhoods of Greater Lauraville

Right Writers Left Out

Al Franken's book seems just in time, if Russ Smith's outdated, simplistic view of the media can appear in what is supposed to be a progressive publication (Right Field, Aug. 6).

Smith seems to think that the fact some newsmagazines and papers have liberal columnists/reporters proves they are liberal. That might be compelling--if one forgets (like Smith) the same publications also have a good number of conservatives.

I hate to break up a nice rant with some facts, but just off the top of my head . . . Newsweek: George Will, Gersh Kuntzman (whose home base is Rupert Murdoch's New York Post), and a special ongoing section called Terror Watch. U.S. News and World Report (which, interestingly, Smith doesn't mention): Michael Barone (neoconservative personified), John Leo (whose last column was devoted to criticizing "diversity football"), and David Gergen, who, while hard to pin down, has given his service as an adviser for a former GOP president. Hardly a liberal.

Even Time has Leon Jaroff, who writes column after column devoted to environmental junk science (and that's not even getting into a debate over whether Joe Klein, whose claim to fame is a 400-page book devoted mainly to criticizing a fictional Bill Clinton, is really "left-leaning").

All of this, of course, is ignoring the real story of the media--that newspapers, magazines, and the networks are now nothing but subsidiaries of larger corporations, who tend not to be run by, say, progressive liberals. What do you see most often on Dateline NBC, good investigative journalism on, say, corporate scandals or another story on Michael Jackson's nose?

I could go on, but why bother. The bottom line is that the "liberal" mainstream, in fact, does (however imperfectly) often try to deliver views on both sides of an issue. Compare that with the number of liberal columnists, reporters, etc., who appear in conservative magazines or papers. When's the last time you saw a liberal viewpoint anywhere in, say, the New York Post or Washington Times?

Or, for that matter, when is the last time you saw a conservative publication give a liberal his or her own column, à la City Paper and Mr. Smith?

David Kittross
Arlington, Va.

Gift-Wrapped Sweat

More power to 13-year-old Isaac Dalto, who is out there calling attention to the fact that so many products on the shelves of Wal-Mart and other U.S. chains are manufactured under horrendous conditions by child laborers (Mobtown Beat, Aug. 6). To me, one of the clearest indications of the extent of America's narcissistic isolation from the real world is that we couldn't care less that half the toys we so lovingly gift wrap and give to our own children at Hanukkah/Christmas are produced in sweatshops by enslaved, poverty-stricken children their own age.

Herman M. Heyn

Our Old Pal

Enjoyed your article on Baltimore magazine's "All Time Best" (Right Field, July 30). My hat's off to you. I didn't realize that someone had penetrated Abe Sherman's eagle-eye scrutiny. Your multimerchandise caper is a classic. I am Abe's son and I congratulate you. In an eight-decade career, there are not many who can say that they bested Abe. Abe had a soft spot for City Paper. I bet that he distributed more copies of City Paper than anyone else. He would insist that his customers take a copy, he would at times even put a copy in their merchandise bag. Thanks for remembering my dad.

Phil Sherman

Correction: During his long and ongoing affiliation with City Paper, contributing writer Tom Scocca has held the titles of editorial assistant, assistant editor, managing editor, and, contrary to what was asserted in last week's Mail, staff writer. (He may also have been an associate editor for a while--even he's not sure.) CP regrets the error and offers apologies to Russ Smith and, of course, to Tom.

Editor's note: In order to focus all our news-gathering resources on our coverage of the upcoming city primary election, we are giving our Mobtown Beat section the week off. Likewise, Charmed Life will appear biweekly until the ballots have been cast.

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