| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:45

    Read the Actual '86 Report, Tom

    In his "B-Listers" column (12/31), J.R. Taylor said that the "Big Lie" this year was about Reagan and AIDS, and that Reagan, in fact, declared the battle against AIDS a "high priority" in his 1986 State of the Union address.

    Am I blind? I don't see it in there. Nor in '85 or '87 or '88. So is "J.R. Taylor" just a pseudonym for Bill O'Reilly?

    Tom Patterson, Queens

    All George's Being

    This article is great ("Nine hundred and Eleven Missing Pieces," 12/31). I hope with all my being that these missing pieces will come out sooner than later. Thank you for such a revealing piece.

    George Milton Wetherington, New Bern, NC

    Mummy Dearest

    Jim Knipfel's article on the Johnson Smith & Co. ("Slackjaw," 12/24) brought back some great memories of those misleading ads. I remember one that promised a mysterious mummy that rises from its coffin like magic. Well, when I got this thing it was no bigger than my thumb. The coffin was a magnet that would repel the mummy if you tapped one end. I was expecting a huge coffin with an Egyptian mummy or something. What a rip-off.

    I also bought a whoopie cushion that made me and my sisters laugh all day. There was onion gum too. Great memories. I can't wait to see their web site.

    Joseph Colagreco, Cliffside Park, NJ

    Green Eggs and Hamlet

    I was a quarter mile from the WTC ("Nine Hundred and Eleven Missing Pieces," 12/31) when it collapsed. I have a roll of film from what I saw and have been interviewed locally several times about my experience. There are so many unanswered questions on this matter. There's definitely something rotten in Denmark. Follow the money. Find who benefits. That's your answer. Thanks for asking these questions, and keep it up.

    Michael Ueberroth, Oregon, OH

    Calamity Pie

    There are hundreds of "Phoenix Memos" ("Nine Hundred and Eleven Missing Pieces," 12/31) every day in this country. I bet I can find one like that after every calamity that happens in this United States.

    We have such a large pie of information to slice up every day that if every one were looked into in a meaningful way, it would take up the entire budget of the Defense Department. I grieve for the people that lost family members, but it is extremely naive and does a disservice to all that died to think this memo out of the hundreds of thousands could be the one that would connect the dots.

    Paul Filler, Ada, MI

    You Smoked LSD?

    I read about Alexander Zaitchik's bad New Year's Eve experience in Amsterdam ("Amsterdamned," 12/24) and the deception he encountered at the hands of one of the natives.

    I do not doubt his disenchantment with the Dutch, because they are unabashedly snooty. One will also find that they rank a close second to the French in their contempt for America. However, as far as deception, they tend to prey on tourists who seek to get fucked up in the coffee shops where hashish and other opiates are available on request. Many Amsterdam natives do not usually frequent such places. Also, if you do partake, you do so at your own risk, because I smoked some hashish there in 1989 that was clearly laced with acid.

    So don't blame the Dutch if they choose to lead you astray when you are on a quest for getting as high as a kite. After all, silly Yank, drugs are for tourists.

    Paul DeCoster, Brooklyn

    Stuck in the Honey Pot

    Douglas Davis writes: "Whatever now rises in that honey pot will mean far more to the entire world-to our culture, to our economy-than any other building, monument or manmade symbol ever has." ("The Shape of Freedom," 12/31)

    This is such patently absurd hyperbole that it leaves me (almost) speechless. The former towers were truly ugly; they were an albatross for years; they wiped out a vibrant neighborhood of small shopkeepers. They were lost to fanatical zeal through incompetent stewardship. The replacement project is guaranteed to commit many of the same mistakes. The facts that the new structures will be more attractive, that they will have monumental and memorial functions, do not mitigate the hubris of building such a preposterously gigantic edifice.

    Jack LaPlante, Davis, CA

    That's Why It's Called "The Gist"

    Signorile: Thank you for articulating some simple but salient facts. ("The Gist," 12/24) After the circus of the Hussein capture, my girlfriend asked, "What does it matter about WMD now that Saddam's been captured?" My retort was that it mattered more than ever. Now Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Rice are completely off the hook regarding this bogus war. Dean was of course correct in what he said, but the pathetic outrage over his comments has probably sunk his chances of beating George W. I shall email your article far and wide; it needs to be read.

    Kieran O' Sullivan, Philadelphia

    Jean Shephard, R.I.P.

    Matthew Callan is one of the few that seems to have mostly "gotten it" about Shepherd ("New York City," 12/24).

    I first heard Jean Shepherd on a small Hallicrafters receiver in the very early 70s, and I was instantly hooked by his ability to tell a story. His storytelling was reminiscent of the days when I would tag along with my old man and his friends during hunting trips. Never once was a shot fired, but the stories and jokes that passed between us kept us laughing so loudly that there probably wasn't a deer within 30 miles.

    It didn't take me long to figure out that Shep was a strong personality and very much a product of his upbringing. In every sense of the word, he was his own man, with a solid value system. You don't get that very often in the media. He worked on his own terms, and if anybody didn't agree with that, well, too bad. We all knew deep down inside that this was one guy who would never compromise his principles. I have no doubt that this may have cost him the widespread popularity he sought, but at least he kept his soul in the process. How we so desperately need examples like that today.

    Ben Torre, Nutley, NJ

    Anti-Tempation Island

    I just read your "Still Lame, but Not Forgotten" ("Page Two," 1/7) article making broad, generalized jabs at Staten Island based on a tragedy, an inebriated firefighter and the actions of one teacher that resides on the Island. I guess the rest of the city is pristine and free of their share of problems, and would be just the form of perfection if it were not for their association with the retarded stepchild of the family, Staten Island. The one thing I found missing was the name of the writer of the article. It must be real easy to take jabs at my "forgotten borough" when you don't have to attach your name to the article. I don't need a response; I just want you to tell that writer how brave I think he is and how clever his quips about Staten Island really are.

    Frank J. Calabro Jr., Staten Island

    Christians For Taibbi

    Obviously, Christianity ("Cage Match," 12/17) is a faith with contradictions. I am a Christian, yet I know Matt Taibbi speaks the truth about Christianity through history and the present political manipulation of it. The essay did not spew hate; it merely stated the facts. I can't believe how Christians can be of a faith and refuse to see how religion and politics have always gone hand in hand. Spirituality is another thing. Wake up, people, before it's too late-after 9/11, Bush obviously believes in sacrificial lambs, and any of us can be next. The bell tolls in 10 months.

    Micki Santo, the Bronx

    MUGGERs Without Borders

    I held a similarly low opinion of doctors (MUGGER, 1/7) until I read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward. It's not a book about the medical profession per se, but it is an excellent way to calibrate the zero on your one to 10 scale for doctors. It made me compare what we've got compared to everyone else. So when the doctor who was to fix my hernia displayed mild symptoms of what you described in your essay, it didn't bother me a bit. After all, the only thing I really needed from that doctor was a competent repair. My wife was there to take care of my feelings.

    Adam Odak, Marietta, GA

    Italicize That

    This is a fantastic article regarding the tragedy of September 11 ("Nine Hundred and Eleven Missing Pieces," 12/31), one that I feel should be talked about in the media and the internet, even ad Newseum, so as to get everybody demanding the investigation and answers that we should have had two-plus years ago. The Bush administration performed the perfect spin on the events of that fateful day, so as not to have people demanding answers, but have people angry and pissed-off enough to demand revenge!

    The very last thing in this world that Bush and his cohorts wanted or even want now is for the American people to demand an investigation into the attacks of September 11, 2001. An investigation would completely destroy the agenda and plans that the current administration has worked so hard to see through to fruition.

    Donna C. Lee, San Diego

    Hona Lee: Rogue Nation

    "The folk singer, still revered in some quarters for his Peter, Paul & Mary hit..." (MUGGER, 1/7)

    Why do you pad your column with "unprovables" like "still revered in some quarters"? Do you hang out with "quarters" that "revere" Peter, Paul and Mary?

    Tom Boyce, Manhattan

    You Say Potato?

    The last paragraph of the column (MUGGER, 1/7): "I agree that Washington can be a 'horror,' what with Charles Schumer, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Patrick and Robert Byrd all doing their part to sully Congress..." is indicative of some sort of mental imbalance since they are among the finest, most honest, most effective members of that august body. "Sully Congress?" The Bush administration has sullied our nation's reputation around the world.

    Tom Force, Manhattan

    Make That 913

    Interesting WTC article by Alan Cabal ("Nine Hundred and Eleven Missing Pieces," 12/31). I'd add questions about two things: First, how was counter-terrorist expert John O'Neil drummed out of the FBI and simultaneously offered a job heading security operations at the WTC? He died on 9/11, last seen returning to one of the towers.

    Second, the matter of George W. Bush having been on the board of CaterAir, which delivered airline meals. It was a worse financial scam than Harken Oil and eventually became Sky Chefs, which was purchased by Carlyle Group-Poppy Bush is on the board of that one. Sky Chefs catered meals to both United and American. Were weapons brought aboard and secreted? Is the liability issue another reason the government is settling with victims? To protect the airlines?

    My one criticism is where certain connections are overstated in your article. Quoting Marge Burns without second sourcing material is risky, too. Marvin Bush didn't "have" a company responsible for security at the WTC. The truth is more interesting and complex. Securacom is privately held by Kuwaitis. Marvin sat on its board. I think this might have been helpful in getting O'Neil, a potential headache, out of the FBI and into a doomed building.

    Rosamond Fogg, Hermosa Beach, CA