December 6, 2004

Take the Money and Run
“The Hedge-Fund Boys” [“Get Richest Quickest,” November 22, by Steve Fishman] have not “been making the rest of Wall Street look like losers.” Through September, the average hedge fund was up a mere 3.6 percent. You could have earned more than that by just buying ten-year U.S. Treasury notes in January and going to sleep for the rest of the year. The fact that 95 percent of all current hedge funds are new to the investment game is not anything to hoo-ha about. Most will be long gone before 2010, as the millions and billions Fishman bandies about in his piece go right down the toilet, just as most Internet stocks did.
—Steven Morris, East Hampton

The “Filthy Stinking Rich” cover photo [November 22] certainly got my attention. I quickly referenced the cover credits, inside, to see the name of the male model with the arms that just won’t quit! Alas, only credits for photography and prop styling were provided. Darn.
—Liz Fedorowich, Lincoln Park, Pa.

Blue IQ
It doesn’t take a wealthy Manhattan executive to figure out why high-income New Yorkers might have rationally voted for Kerry [“The Imperial City: People Like Us,” November 22, by Kurt Andersen]. By supporting a candidate in favor of an equitable tax system, even the wealthiest blue-state tycoons plausibly served their own interests through distributive justice. Unless low-income Bush supporters voted to advance a corresponding interest in trickle-down economics, their motivations hardly seem analogous.
—Rachel Natelson, Brooklyn

Upper-class Democrats didn’t vote on their own short-term self-interests. They too believe that a strong middle class is better for America.
—Harriette Willis, Alexandria, Va.

Bush supporters in red states think they’re contributing to the war on terror by putting flag stickers on their SUVs. New Yorkers fight that war every day by living here.
—David Jenkins, Manhattan

Liberals won’t put anyone in the White House until they begin to back off from pushing their strident and intolerant viewpoints on everyone around them. Conservatives are far more relaxed and interesting to be around. That’s why I—a Bronx-born, black, married female—happily pulled the lever for Bush.
—Anne Stevens, Flushing

Kurt Andersen writes that “the equivalence between Christian fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism seems plain.” If Mr. Andersen knows of any Christian fundamentalists who attacked the World Trade Center, train and glorify suicide bombers, behead innocent hostages, or threaten to kill millions of Americans, he should notify the FBI immediately. If he doesn’t, he should find something else to write about.
—Daniel R. Benson, Manhattan

Kurt Andersen points out that we have little patience for ideas and opinions aside from our own liberal canon, and there is truth to that. His column restates the mythological “red-state-blue-state” divide. Like most city dwellers, I know nothing about growing food, driving a pickup, or Willie Nelson. I look to rural America for leadership in those areas.
—John Malecki, Manhattan

Food, Lies, and Videotape
As I read David France’s article [“Hell House Revisited,” November 22], it reminded me of my cousin who for years suffered from the same disease Bruce did. My uncles almost went bankrupt from all the food they had to buy and several trips to hospitals. I too suffer from similar symptoms, like food addiction.
—Hermes Clausz, Los Angeles, Calif.

As the court-appointed guardian for the three minor Jackson children, I believe David France’s story is distorted. It relies heavily on claims made by Raymond and Vanessa Jackson, who are being criminally prosecuted, that Bruce was to blame for the children’s starvation. However, all four children immediately experienced significant increases in weight and height when they were removed from the Jackson home. It’s shameful to try to blame Bruce Jackson for the terrible suffering these children have experienced after being placed by the State of New Jersey with this family.
—Marcia Robinson Lowry, Executive Director, Children’s Rights, Manhattan

As a regular reader of the local newspapers in New Jersey, I was compelled by David France’s article. It revealed so much more about the family than the newspapers did. Every New Jersey resident should read this story before making any judgments about the Jacksons. The state, specifically DYFS, has neglected these children and has failed to educate the Jackson family on how to care for them.
—Victoria G. Adam, Ledgewood, N.J.

Why does one family in New Jersey get multiple high-need children they clearly can’t handle? Because most Americans don’t want to be foster parents. The stipend doesn’t cover the child’s expenses and the child welfare system is disrespectful. It’s time to stop vilifying foster parents and to change child welfare for the better.
—Sarah Gertenzang, Brooklyn

STDs and the City
As a female twentysomething living in New York, I was relieved to read that there are other STD tweekers out there [“Sex/steria,” November 22, by Grant Stoddard]. The writer accurately represented people who are scared of either getting sick or infecting their partners, especially women. Is running the risk of cancer or permanently hurting your newborn worth a night of pleasure? I find no shame in transient sexual “deprivation” that will end when I get married.
—Gabriella R., Long Island

To the phobic woman in “Sex/steria” who can’t have sex because she’s terrified of having to tell her mother about getting genital warts: Maybe your mother has a case herself, as I found out my mother does! (The parting gift of a cheating husband.) If we stop having sex, the red states really have won.
—Rick R., Manhattan

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December 6, 2004