February 21, 2005

Deaniacs Are Back
I enjoyed John Heilemann’s “Dean Without Screams” [“The National Interest,” February 14]. Dean will direct his message toward the Democratic Party’s base: a group of working, ethical, independent thinkers. A policy of lockstep conformity may have won Republicans the House and Senate, but it has also linked their party’s future to an administration marred by propaganda, secrecy, torture, and financial mismanagement. Watching the Republican machine take aim against Howard Dean showed just how much they fear the honest and passionate expression of Democratic values. Dean, a fighter who is now better positioned to fire back, won’t wait for the Republicans to “bring it on.”
—Robert Bussell Jr., Ridgewood

Milk Made
The reality is that without the Harvey Milk High School [“The Harvey Milk School Has No Right to Exist. Discuss,” by John Colapinto, February 7], many students would be denied access to a safe environment and the quality education they deserve. As a gay man, I too experienced harassment in high school. One of the first bills I introduced as a state senator was the Dignity for All Students Act, which would fight prejudice and promote tolerance in all our schools. I will continue to fight to ensure that this vital legislation becomes law; its passage would make mutual respect and understanding the cornerstones of the educational experience of all New York’s students.
—Thomas K. Duane, State Senator, Manhattan

Silent Partner
While I appreciate the Philip Johnson obituary with quotes from fellow architects [“

Is Alan Alda at work on a biopic of Philip Johnson? If not, perhaps the photos of Mr. Johnson in his obit and Mr. Alda in “Party Lines” [February 7] will cause Mr. Alda to consider the idea. That these two men could look so much alike never occurred to me when I was watching M*A*S*H back in the seventies.
—Heather N. Paxton, Prairie Village, Kans.

Building Block
Thank you for resurrecting the open “Competition” to showcase New Yorkers’ creative talents. As a designer who has lived here for fourteen years, I think New York is one of the most vibrant and inspiring places to live and work. However, the focus of your competitions to date has been too limited and architecturally based—a restaurant, a gym, and now a West Side stadium [“The Competition: Create a Gym,” February 7]. Is architecture the lowest common denominator? You should broaden the scope to encourage participation from a wider audience.
—Stuart Harvey Lee, Manhattan

Mean Girls
I found Clive Thompson’s “Cruel Intentions” [“TV,” February 7] provocative. Perhaps I can add to the moral debate: Could these episodes of torture endured and instigated by women be a manifestation of misogyny? Thanks for making me think beyond what I am fixing for dinner.
—Amy Oman, London, England Dreamers
I was so happy to read about The Gates in “The Passion of the Christos,” by Adam Sternbergh [January 24–31]. Like monks’ robes, wings of wild soaring birds, or simple sheets drying in the wind, their Gates will inspire minds and wonderful conversations in the park. If John Lennon watches from his Dakota tower in the sky, he will take delight in their message and their generous gift, and think, We’ve won.
—Virginia Farre, Manhattan

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February 21, 2005