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January 10, 2005

Readers sound off on the weak dollar, big box stores in New York, firefighters, Al Franken, and more.


Bipartisan Green
In “Ode to the Falling Dollar” [“The Bottom Line,” December 20–27, 2004], James J. Cramer concludes that a “strong dollar subsidizes the decadent tastes of the blues, and a weak dollar doesn’t affect the lifestyles of the reds” because they’re less wedded to imported goods. Surely Cramer knows Levi’s recently closed its El Paso, Texas, sewing factories to focus on lower-cost overseas production. He also must be well aware that Wal-Mart is packed with goods made in China and that its low prices are dependent on cheap overseas production. There is no question that a strong dollar will affect the prices Wal-Mart will charge, and thus Wal-Mart shoppers, in both red states and blue.
—Russ Mitchell, Berkeley, Calif.

Doc Com
I found Henry Blodget’s “The Internet’s Bust Became a Boom” [December 20–27, 2004] to be one of the most self-serving pieces ever published. Back in the bubble’s heyday, Blodget’s philosophy, if one can call it that, was based on a severe lack of understanding of history and the market. At the time, the only thing that was worse than his position was the fact that his firm’s management, which clearly knew better, ignored the obvious in favor of raking in the dot-com fees. Now Blodget dares to try to redeem himself and revive his image. For the record, I am not one who lost money because of Blodget, his firm, or the bubble—nor am I related to anyone who did. I just chafe at his gall. Sheer arrogance.
—Anthony Montemurno, New Haven, Conn.

I know Stephen Milioti’s “New York Got Malled” [December 20–27, 2004] was written with a sense of humor. But there’s nothing funny about what these “big box” stores will do to New York City. Small businesses will be unable to compete and will be driven out of business, workers earning low wages won’t have health-care coverage for their families, and, ultimately, consumers will have less choice and pay higher prices. Hilarious, huh?
—John R. Durso, Rego Park

Fired Up
In “Firefighters Lost Their Halos” [December 20–27, 2004], Mark Jacobson seems to be judging a force of roughly 10,000 firefighters based on the actions of a few. Some have used poor judgment and made mistakes, yes, but we are not all arrogant frat boys. I don’t do my job because I want girls in a bar to talk to me or in the hopes that I’ll be rich someday. The reason we “drive in from Rockville Centre and other dim suburbs” in our “stupid Jeep Cherokees” (which, by the way, I can’t afford) is because we go to work 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to protect the residents of New York City. We cannot afford to live in Manhattan, but we go there to work every day—no questions asked—to protect those who do.
—Brent Posthumus, Long Beach, N.Y.

In “Liberals Learned to Scream As Loudly As Conservatives” [December 20–27, 2004], Ken Tucker writes, “Liberals on radio are dreary” and “prone to rote and poorly documented Bush-bashing.” What a statement. I find the hosts on Air America brilliant, especially Al Franken and Randi Rhodes, and terrifically entertaining. What Tucker’s really saying is, “Oh, look, I have the guts to bash liberals in New York City.”
—Steve Cutler, Manhattan

Has Ken Tucker ever listened to Marc Maron and Mark Riley? Or Randi Rhodes? The 40-station (and growing) network keeps me both laughing and informed, and it’s one of the few media outlets that isn’t afraid of the Bush administration. Has anyone heard about election fraud in Ohio, Florida, or California anywhere else on the airwaves? Perhaps Mr. Tucker finds the state of the world so dreary that he can’t bear to listen. Millions of us, on the other hand, must.
—Ellen Spilka, Brooklyn

Bernie’s Bac
Empire State College, a comprehensive arts-and-sciences college within the State University of New York, does not award “mail-order degrees” [“Intelligencer: Bernie Kerik’s Brilliant Career,” December 20–27, 2004].
—Joseph B. Moore , President, Empire State College

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