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Winners Take All 

Letters published October 6, 2004

Winners Take All
Coroner rules with a whim of iron:
I want to congratulate you on a fine work of journalism with your astonishing and moving article, "Dead Wrong" [September 15]. Ever since I read it, I have been feeling rather vulnerable.

I would like to put my faith in the criminal justice system, but when something that is actually a sad accident can be ruled a murder by the whim of a single individual who won't even consider the scientific evidence, we are all potentially at risk.

With great research and poignant examples, you were able to shine a spotlight on one of the greatest weaknesses of our justice system -- namely, the all-out obsession to win of police and prosecutors. Often truth and justice come a far second to maintaining a high winning percentage and simply moving cases through the courts.

You have frightened the readers of Scene with a story that certainly needed to be told.

Braden Albert
Cleveland

That explains everything: I guess Dr. Balraj is the reason they wouldn't make CSI: Cleveland.

Charles Dunifer
Northfield

Read All Over
From our new pal in PA:
Just had to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your paper. And when I say read, I mean I read all of it. I've never seen such no-holds-barred articles. In these times of so many untruths, it is more than refreshing to come upon honest editorials and reporting. I will be a regular reader from now on. I am from Pittsburgh, but all your articles held my interest as though I were from Cleveland. Well done.

Sandra Staley
Brackenridge, Pennsylvania

Healthcare Hero
In respect to Heimlich:
I was surprised to see the recent attack on my good friend Henry Heimlich ["Heimlich's Maneuver," August 11], a man whose work has saved thousands upon thousands of lives.

Dr. Heimlich has sought the most direct and effective solutions to health problems. The elegantly simple Heimlich maneuver swept aside the more complicated and largely ineffective first-aid techniques that had gone before it. And using the maneuver to clear water from the lungs in near-drowning cases is sensible, quick, and life-saving.

Needless to say, all medical pioneers have to swim against the current at many points, and Dr. Heimlich has had the courage to do so. He pushed for 11 years to win endorsement of the Heimlich maneuver for choking victims, and because of his insistence, more than 60,000 people in the United States alone have been saved from choking to death.

At 84, Dr. Heimlich is still active in research and the practice of responsible medicine. He shows that innovative thinking remains our best tool in revolutionizing health care. I salute Dr. Heimlich and encourage young physicians to follow his example.

Dr. Neal Barnard
President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Washington, D.C.

Talking Tough
No more beating around the Bush:
I am a conservative. The following is my interpretation of Pete Kotz's "real man" criticism of George Bush ["Country Club Swagger," September 22]:

President Bush represents the United States. Like it or not, be embarrassed or not, this is the truth. When you're the big kid on the block and people are taking shots at you, you'd better swagger. You'd better talk tough and back it up. If you don't, you embolden those who take shots.

I'm sorry you can't see how encouraging democracy (even through war) will, in the long run, make the world safer. Changing the way Middle Eastern governments allow a small segment of their population to brainwash their citizens will lead to a safer world. Do you suggest we play nice to these animals? The days of bringing Arafat to Camp David are over. We have to lead through strength.

As far as the jobs, gays, and grandma comments go, the left has spent years trying to scare old people and paint conservatives with a racist brush. Look at the polls. Your views are in the minority. I know this is hard to accept, but just look at your presidential primaries. The majority of the Democrats agreed with Howard Dean, but they knew that his ideals were out of touch with the majority. They picked John Kerry because he at least sounded more in touch with the rest of the country.

Bob Brophy
Euclid

Laugh while you can: I can't decide whether "Country Club Swagger" is a serious editorial or sarcastic humor. It works either way!

G.T. Atwood
Cleveland Heights

Ten Down
Don't mess with the icon:
Aren't we a talentless little twit, with an anal attitude toward a legend (Paul McCartney) who has more talent in his aging pubic hairs than Mike Seeley has ever dreamed of ["Terrible 10," September 22]? I guess that's why you're writing for a free magazine of such dignity. I think Scene can do its readers justice by firing this turd of a writer. By the way, the last song you wrote was what?

Chris Hess
Canton

Bashing the Beatles is just stoopid: "Terrible 10" was right on, for the most part. The list included sellouts and overrated artists alike. However, there are a few rock-history lessons that Mike Seeley needs to learn.

First, how could you dare say that the Beatles were a grotesquely overrated boy band? Although I do agree with the rest of your assessment of McCartney's selling out, I, and probably every musician, famous or not, think that the Beatles influenced and shaped the history of rock and roll. I challenge you to find 10 decent rock albums by any artist over the past 30 years that do not have some sort of Beatles-influenced sound, song, or production technique.

Second, your bit about Bob Weir was a little off, as well. I am not a Dead fan, but I know that the band was not a bunch of semicompetent nerds behind Jerry Garcia. As a bass player, Bob Weir is considered at or near the top of the game. His claim to fame is that he never plays the same bass line twice. After 30-plus years on the road, that is impressive. Trying to keep the Dead alive may not be his greatest idea, but to question his musicianship is simply uneducated.

The article was funny and had some great points. But some advice to you, Mike: Ask your mommy and daddy for a little rock-history lesson.

Kevin McKenna
Brunswick

No See 'Ums
Maybe Sam should get his eyes checked:
In response to Sam Fulwood III's comment, "It's not that easy to find poor people," as quoted in First Punch ["Surreal life," September 22]: Does Fulwood read the front page of his own paper?

Want to talk to me? I lost two jobs in the past four years because my employers went out of business, and I lost my health insurance. Is this representative of a flourishing economy? Now I work for low wages just to have a place to sleep at night. Is this freedom? Is this stability and a guaranteed future?

This is what it is like for me. But if Mr. Fulwood needs to find other "poor" people, I will show him where to look. Poverty in America is everywhere.

Jeanne Coppola
Cleveland

Point Missed
One guy's funny is another guy's bummer:
I'm writing in response to the review of Last Call Cleveland's Corvette Summer show at the Black Box Theater ["Hammered Humor," August 4]. I couldn't believe Christine Howey's criticism. It's clear that she doesn't get comedy. Last Call Cleveland is some of the best comedy in the area.

So I ask Christine Howey: What's wrong with making people laugh? Isn't that what comedy is all about? You can criticize them for easy punch lines, but you cannot deny their talent and smart material.

Jeff Parsons
Parma

True to Their Collars
Metal bands bust butt:
Just because there was not a huge name headlining this year's World Series of Metal does not mean it wasn't a success [Nightwatch, August 25]. Local Cleveland bands are truly blue-collar, working our asses off to keep the aggressive live scene going. Through the rain, $5 beers, elitist sound guys, and impossibly short sets, all the musicians involved were in very high spirits and cooperative. Maybe, instead of being negative and reviewing the show before it even happened, you should go see how hard Cleveland metal bands bust butt to do what we love.

Jimmy Black
Cleveland

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