I was struck by the volume of mindless, vitriolic mail from slavering mutants published by Westword in the May 15 issue. Hey, this is our paper! If you militant hatemongers don't want to get your sensibilities in an uproar, I suggest you return to your regular reading...i.e., Mein Kampf, The Turner Diaries and the Christian Science Monitor. We don't bother you, so please return the courtesy.
Peggy J. Seaman
Regarding Stuart Steers's "The Big Queasy," in the May 15 issue:
I and others could just sit and say "I'll eat those chips when all these pro-olestra people sit in a room and eat one bag each." Then we could all get a real show, a real frenzy, by locking the bathrooms. Imagine the admission you could charge--let alone the rate for rights to the entire event. I keep seeing the phrase: "The symptoms only happen if you eat a lot of chips." What is a lot? Two chips? A handful? An entire bag?
Furthermore, as the usual corporate denials go, I could take all their misleading statements and replace "olestra" with "tobacco." The same denials, the same bowl of..."lard" (without olestra). How long before people wake up and realize what is really going on? I think a fair question to all the Nabisco and Procter & Gamble execs is: Do you feed this to your own kids?
via the Internet
Stuart Steers's olestra story was so inspiring, I went into the bathroom and this haiku came out: Couldn't eat just one/Stomach oozes olestra/Now let the chips fall.
Your journalistic credibility goes downhill fast when your "major investigative stories" contain basic errors in fact. Saccharin was not introduced in the Seventies, as stated by Stuart Steers. While I don't know when it was first used, I remember it on my grandparents' dining table as a child in the early Fifties.
So, come on--how about a little more research? Then maybe I'll be able to read past the first paragraph.
via the Internet
Good column by Patricia Calhoun on the fired paramedic ("Unsafe at Any Speed," May 8). Either Tom Davis is the most unlucky guy around, or he should not be let loose on our streets. I vote for the latter.
Please put me down as always on the side of the police and paramedics. We send those people into the sewers to flush out rats like Gil Webb, then complain that they don't always smell like roses. It's a damned dirty, dangerous job, and they deserve a medal for every day they survive.
I think we all know why Denver Health was so quick and nasty in its judgment of the paramedics. The wolves were at the door howling for blood, and the paramedics were handy for the sacrifice. A fine or suspension might have been appropriate, but it would not have appeased the wolves. Someday the wolves are going to cry "wolf" and wake up the hounds instead. We live in hope.
Incidentally, I challenge any four men not professional wrestlers to get me onto a gurney against my will without hurting me and looking bad in the video. I am 75.
Nolan L. Nix
State of the Union
I was featured in "An Unholy Union," the May 15 article on UFCW Local 7, where I have not worked since 1988. Eric Dexheimer never contacted me to corroborate events concerning me that he used to support the contention about violence in Local 7 and his misguided portrayal of the Coughlins as union reformers.
Dexheimer cites an incident in which Tim Coughlin broke my leg in a scuffle at Local 7 headquarters. The incident occurred in 1988. I and others maintain that it was incited by top Local 7 officials who wanted to force me out of the union because I was opposed to "business unionism" and collaboration with employers at the expense of workers. Linda, who wasn't married to Tim Coughlin at the time, later told me that Tim had confided to her that a Local 7 official told him to "hurt him (meaning me) and hurt him badly" and gave him money to pay for his legal bills related to the criminal charges stemming from the assault. I believe Tim was motivated by more than his hatred for me and was obsessed with ingratiating himself to Local 7 officials to promote his career.
The attack on me offered the most compelling argument in Linda Coughlin's first trial that violence and repression existed in Local 7. It is ironic that the person who directly carried out the attack would later marry Linda Coughlin and become a beneficiary of the $550,000 jury award.
As far as the altercation when Ernie Duran supposedly chased me down in my car and assaulted and threatened me, Dexheimer cites "three separate former and current union members" as his sources. There were only four persons present at the so-called incident, including myself. One is dead, one is Ernie Duran, and the other was Duran's close friend--and I'm sure that Duran and his friend didn't provide the details for Dexheimer's story. Duran and I had some disagreements, but we never had any physical altercation, and there were never any threats between us. Duran may have flaws, but he shouldn't be unjustly accused when there are no facts and no witnesses to back up the allegations.
Violence, repression and sexism have no place in the union movement. It is unacceptable and demeaning when organizations established to protect workers take on the characteristics of the oppressors.
Joseph J. Drexler
I missed not having Patricia Calhoun's column in the last Westword. So much has happened and still is happening, and I thought surely a Westword without Patricia is like a day without sunshine.
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