December 15, 2003

Team Rally
Senator John Kerry and other Howard Dean challengers still have a shot at the Democratic nomination—provided they figure out a way to excite the primary voter [“Hurry, Kerry,” by Meryl Gordon, November 24]. My suggestion: Each candidate should announce his Cabinet picks before the New York primary. The selection of Cabinet members says something about a candidate’s judgment. If Kerry (or anyone) would promise to appoint Eliot Spitzer attorney general or Bobby Kennedy to a high-level environmental position, New York voters could get very excited.
—Paul Feiner, Greenburgh, N.Y.

A Heavy Burden to Kerry
John Kerry’s main problem may be that he looks like he’s already been president. He has the hooded, sad eyes of someone who’s borne the weight of the world. The only sadder-looking politician I can remember is Lyndon Johnson when he took office with Kennedy’s widow at his side. And while Clinton felt our pain, Kerry seems to exude his own.
—Arthur D. Aptowitz, Staten Island

Denny’s Desserts
Greg Sargent’s “E Pluribus Dems” [“The City Politic,” November 24] fails to recognize that long before the mayor’s referendum to eliminate party primaries was on anyone’s radar screen, New York State Democratic Party chair Herman “Denny” Farrell Jr. had developed a plan to defeat the proposal and dedicated the resources of the state party to implement it. Without Farrell’s early opposition to Bloomberg’s initiative, the campaign to defeat the measure simply would not have been successful. I’m proud to have him as the chairman of my party.
—David L. Cohen, Member, New York State Democratic Committee, Manhattan

Party On
Denny Farrell’s leadership has been clearly evident in every victory we have achieved over the last two years. I have worked with Denny in uniting and strengthening our party and have witnessed his dedication. New York Democrats are a mix of wonderfully diverse people, from regions with unique characteristics and needs. The person who leads such an organization must respect this diversity while uniting us with a common purpose. It’s no small task. I admire Denny for taking on this challenge, and I am proud to work with him as we prepare for victories in 2004 and beyond.
—Denise W. King, Executive Chair, New York State Democratic Committee, Chatham, N.Y.

Star Search
It was gratifying to read about a physician who truly deserves accolades [“Small Miracles,” by Steve Fishman, November 17]. I’ve read many articles about so-called physician-heroes. Dr. Jan Quaegebeur genuinely merits superstar status.
—Carl N. Steeg, Manhattan

Immaterial Girls
In an age when popular culture focuses disproportionately on Paris Hilton’s sex video and Madonna’s televised tongue-kiss with Britney Spears, we need more well-written articles like “Small Miracles” to remind us of what is truly important. Thank you.
—Emily Tan, Manhattan

On Q
Dr. Jan Quaegebeur performs miracles on big kids, too. At 30, my husband, Greg, was diagnosed with aortic insufficiency. Five years later, when it was time to replace Greg’s valve, Dr. Q reassured me that he not only remembered Greg but would make room for Greg’s surgery in his schedule. A huge thank-you to Steve Fishman for marking the seventh anniversary of Greg’s surgery to the day.
—Sonnie Carpenter, Paramus, N.J.

Reversal of Misfortune
As the parent of a 7-year-old who’s undergone four heart surgeries in Jan Quaegebeur’s program, I was hardly as appreciative of his efforts as those interviewed in “Small Miracles.” Yes, Dr. Q and his team perform fabulous work; without their expertise, my daughter would not be alive today. But it is misleading to focus on a child who is able to trick-or-treat just two weeks after open-heart surgery. This is not the reality for most of these children. They spend weeks and even months recovering in the ICU as their parents, feeling helpless, hold a 24-hour vigil at their bedside. And the fact that Dr. Q frequents Jean Georges? He certainly deserves to enjoy dining at its best, but knowing his good fortune is financed by my child’s misfortune makes it a little hard to stomach.
—Elizabeth Mulraney, Wayne, N.J.

Corrections: Owing to an editing error, a review of Wonderful Town (“Theater: ’S Wonderful,” by John Simon, December 8) referred incorrectly to the show’s source. It is My Sister Eileen (not Irene). A photograph accompanying the “Hollywood” column (“Off to the Races,” by Anne Thompson, December 8) carried an incorrect credit. The bottom picture shows Viggo Mortensen in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, not Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai. New York regrets the errors.

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December 15, 2003