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Death to the Working Man 

Letters published December 25, 2002

O'Connor on the bench means trouble for Ohio: After reading Sarah Fenske's "And Justice for Mo" [October 23], it appears that, like Youngstown's convicted ex-Congressman James Traficant, the only place O'Connor should be running for political office is from a jail cell. It's obvious she buried the Blue Cross probe in Cuyahoga Falls for political reasons. Why else would she refuse Scene's request to review the documentation?

Clearly in the hip pocket of Ohio's business community, O'Connor has been responsible for a terrible injustice. Somebody better call 911. With O'Connor on the Ohio Supreme Court in 2003, this state's working people and their families are about to get murdered.

Mark Stevens
Louisville, OH

Racism + cover-ups = killer TV: There is something rotten in the city of Cuyahoga Falls. Why do voters there support a corrupt and racist mayor ["And Justice for Mo" and "Unpleasant Meadows," October 30]?

Republican Mayor Don Robart allowed his city to get taken to the cleaners in a Blue Cross scandal, then morphed into the race-mongering Grand Cyclops of Summit County. This is definitely not a pretty picture painted by Scene writer Sarah Fenske, who did a great job on both articles.

When the media abandons its watchdog role, there are consequences for the community. If the Akron Beacon Journal had bothered to extend itself to expose the Blue Cross corruption in Cuyahoga Falls, Maureen O'Connor, who, as Summit County prosecutor, covered up the scandal, never could have become lieutenant governor -- let alone a member of the Ohio Supreme Court. And Robart could not have been reelected as mayor, further humiliating this area with his disgusting race-baiting.

Perhaps one of the cable networks could come up with a new reality show: Caucasian Falls Hillbilly Idol. Don Robart could compete by displaying his command of racial code words. Maureen O'Connor could fix the judge's voting (in Robart's favor), and the Beacon Journal could sleep through the whole program.

Melissa Holick
Akron

Kuz missed the reason behind the rally: Martin Kuz's story ["Confessions of a Virgin Protester," November 20] about Cleveland's anti-war rally on November 16 clearly conveyed that he's cooler than the rest of us. However, since Kuz has "never bothered to demonstrate against anything in (his) life," he might have spent the morning learning why the protesters were there, rather than what was in their coffee cups. He might have asked why they, unlike himself, don't want to "bomb the living shit out of Saddam himself."

The protesters might have said that the bombs probably won't fall directly on Saddam. They'll surely fall, however, on thousands of conscripted Iraqi soldiers and innocent Iraqi citizens. And what kind of bombs? The U.S. drops, among other things, cluster bombs, which send "bomblets" over a space as wide as many football fields. Not all the bomblets explode immediately. They remain on the ground as land mines for children to pick up. Thousands of U.S. bomblets are strewn over Iraq from the first Gulf War. They remain as well in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and even Indochina, where they continue to kill innocents.

While we're in Iraq, we'll also be shooting at some tanks. Our missiles are tipped with uranium -- a gift that keeps on giving. Iraqi people, including teenage girls with breast cancer, are now developing radiation-related diseases from our weapons in the first Gulf War, and European peacekeepers in Kosovo are getting sick as well, possibly from the radiation we strewed around in the '90s. Our own veterans with Gulf War Syndrome could very well be suffering from our weaponry's fallout, but the U.S. government, unlike Britain's, refuses to investigate this possibility.

Such information might have raised some questions in readers' minds as well as Kuz's. But it was good to learn that many of the protesters were drinking latte. I myself had a cup of regular.

Kathy Ewing
Cleveland Heights

Hitting the streets for peace: I'll concede Martin Kuz's story about the anti-war march was basically accurate, if incomplete. On my first and fast-annoyed read, I thought he had, coolly and cynically, slanted the entire experience into an image of naive futility. With more careful reading, I realized he neatly caught the march's reality: committed protest by a broad cross section of Clevelanders against the President's war.

But I wish he had balanced his version of the march's basic message. He quotes "working stiff" Dennis Stuehr, who talked like this: "It musta been 15, 16 years ago (that he last marched), something like that. Now what the hell was it for?"

He should also have quoted the Reverend Joan Brown Campbell, former head of the National Council of Churches, who talked like this: "When a nation decides to go to war, they have made a moral -- not a military -- decision. War is always a failure of the human spirit. Violence always begets further violence."

Martin confesses: "I go into Saturday's rally without clear convictions -- while generally anti-war, I'm also very pro-bomb-the-living-shit-out-of-Saddam-himself." Can he do this without killing more thousands of innocent Iraqis, each one having more reasons to hate Saddam than we do?

Martin says he is "jaded" or a "typical Gen Xer." If this means deep political distrust and disillusion, it's not without basis. It is so with many of us old-timers. But like Dennis Stuehr, we hit the streets again for what we believe we must someday achieve: more peace and justice within the human family.

Walter S. Nicholes
Cleveland

An embittered theater community cries out: I am deeply saddened that Scene theater critic Keith Joseph has been fired. Many a time I eagerly opened a copy of Scene for the sole reason of reading, often aloud with my fellow workers, a Keith Joseph review. Keith would pull off references that other writers could not even dream of. He has been frequently quoted in theater circles. His reviews still hang on the call boards of theaters across this community.

I did not always agree with Keith Joseph's opinions. A disapproving review of a friend would often raise my blood pressure. Yet agreeing or disagreeing with Keith was not always the point.

Love him or loathe him, I was entertained if not enlightened by his writing. His annual awards were always the talk of the town, making Scene a must-read. We read Keith Joseph. We asked our friends if they read Keith Joseph. And along the way, we learned not to take our theatrical selves too seriously. For even when we wanted to scream our lungs out at him, Keith was one of our own. His passion for great theater cannot be replaced.

Daniel Hahn
Director of Education, The Great Lakes Theater Festival
Berea

Fourteen years for a boot in the behind: When I learned of Keith A. Joseph's termination from Scene, I was stunned. For 14 years, Keith Joseph has informed and amused his readers. Unfortunately, your new managing editor, Noelle Howey, has a lot to learn about editorial skills -- otherwise she would not have condescendingly fired Joseph. With the proper legal representation, Joseph could educate Howey as to her shortcomings.

Catrina Kolesar
Richmond Heights

Crimes of cultural irresponsibility: It has come to my attention that Scene has fired Keith Joseph. Obviously, Scene does not feel it has an obligation to the arts community of Cleveland. Keith Joseph is an insightful and intelligent critic, whose reviews were always a pleasure to read. He had the rare ability to dissect the strengths and weaknesses of a production, yet entertain his readers at the same time. His humor reminded one of Oscar Wilde, but his humor never came at the expense of a quality review; his knowledge and understanding of the elements of theater were such that readers were always in good hands, which is probably why he is so highly regarded among Cleveland theater artists.

Scene's dismissal of him is an act of cultural irresponsibility. If this is any indication, it's only a matter of time before Scene gets rid of its theater coverage altogether. Maybe they could start reviewing their advertisements at the end of the paper instead.

Gregory Vovos
Rocky River

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