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With Friends Like This 

Letters published June 1, 2005

With Friends Like This
Someone was talking through the hat:
On November 21, 2004, The Plain Dealer touted David Brennan as "The Man in the White Hat" with big ideas to solve the crisis in nursing-home costs [First Punch, May 18]. They published a huge picture of him with his white hat. They called him an industrialist and mentioned in passing that he gets huge amounts of taxpayer money to run charter schools in Ohio.

At the time it was unclear why The Plain Dealer thought he was an expert on nursing-home costs, let alone an expert on charter schools. His Medicaid ideas were unrealistic and mean-spirited. He simply wanted nursing homes to bid each other down to the lowest costs -- and levels of care be damned.

Well, your First Punch story on Brennan succinctly tells it all. He bought his way in and is stealing charter-school money by failing the children. Meanwhile, The Plain Dealer has nothing to say about how much it regrets putting this phony, money-grubbing bastard on the front page of the Forum section, as if he were a decent human being, whose opinion should be valued.

Your paper is turning out to be the only local news worth reading. Keep it up!

Gerald Seidel
Cleveland Heights

Bottoms Up
Streaking, a noble college tradition:
I am a member of the CSU rugby team. Yes, it is true that Edward and I had to run around naked after the game [First Punch, May 18]. However, the Zulu Run is a normal part of rugby matches.

The run can be made for playing a good match, scoring your first tri, or losing a bet made after the game. Edward and I lost a bet subsequent to the rugby match and therefore had to run naked around John Carroll's rugby house.

But one fact you must get right: Cleveland State beat John Carroll that day. In fact, we kicked their butts.

Eric Barnett

For the Birds
Chicken takes a lickin' from trash-talkin' kids:
In a way, one could empathize with the PETA do-gooders [First Punch, May 18]. They took the time and trouble to visit schoolchildren and lecture them on the grim mistreatment of fowl that are overprocessed into "nuggets" for human consumption. A chicken suit was even worn to amuse the youngsters and impress upon them the commercial tragedy of poultry abuse.

The children, seemingly, were less than shocked by the message of cruelty to chickens. Perhaps they were sometimes too hungry to be squeamish. Or maybe they thought the professed sympathy for suffering creatures was appallingly misplaced -- a clash of socio-economic sensibilities?

Of course, no animals are victimized when the very wealthy savor their champagne and caviar. And that's healthier than hot dogs and soda pop. Hence, the political hobbyists needn't enlighten the affluent minority.

William Dauenhauer

Try taking a bird's-eye view: While the children at Joseph Gallagher Middle School may not know chickens as well as they know dogs and cats, these intelligent animals can feel love, happiness, fear, and pain just the same. Kids need to understand that if they're eating chicken, they're supporting cruelty to animals and hurting their own health.

Like us, chickens form strong family ties and mourn when they lose a loved one. On factory farms, chickens are crammed by the tens of thousands into filthy warehouses, with no access to fresh air or sunlight. Many suffer from respiratory diseases, bacterial infections, crippled legs, heart attacks, and other serious ailments.

During slaughter, their throats are cut, and they are often dumped into a tank of scalding water while fully conscious. The best way to help chickens and other animals used for food is to adopt a healthy, humane, vegetarian diet.

Heather Moore, PETA
Norfolk, Virginia

Growing Pains
Issues divide younger Sikhs from elders:
I was shocked to hear what was going on ["Bad Karma," May 11]. I was embarrassed because my people, the ones who are supposed to be leaders in the temple, ban other Sikhs from coming into a place of worship. Sikhs do not close our doors to any color, race, or religion. We welcome everyone. So how can they just ban Sikhs from going to temple?

Navtej is doing so much for Sikhism in America. He is educating others about our religion and being a true role model for the younger generation. Do the "leaders" of the Bedford Temple realize this? I feel like they don't. So what if Navtej made the point that uncut Sikhs should hold leadership positions? I find myself agreeing with that, because our uncut hair is our identity. It makes us who we are.

Being born and raised in America, I haven't cut my hair. But sadly, that isn't common anymore. Many people come to America and cut their hair to fit in and not look different.

The elders of the temple need to trust the next generation of leaders -- people like Navtej and his friends -- to hold positions or at least speak their minds.

The article was extremely well written. Thanks for educating me and others not only about our religion, but also about what is going on.

Jasroop Kaur Bambrah

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