First, a Letter From an Occasional Commentator

After reading Michael Lenehan's article "A Year Without Journalism" (Currents, Jan. 5), in which he suggests that old-media journalists go on strike for a year, all I can say is: "Gosh, do you think we could get the 'journalists' to sign a contract to that effect before they change their minds?"

Mr. Lenehan exemplifies the problem of the old media--and it's not the pissants in the new media. Does he wonder why people are abandoning newspapers in droves? Does he ask what the dweebs are providing readers that he and his colleagues are not? Does it occur to him that with his superior intellect, work ethic, moral character and overall goodness, he and his colleagues could make a superior product and grind those little dweebs under their boot heels? No! He dismisses the competition as geek losers who can only steal the stellar creations of the "journalists."

These guys live in a closed, detached and somewhat incestuous industry that has lost sight of the prize. They need to start writing for their customers and not each other.

The notion that Internet news sources do no original reporting is delusional wishful thinking on the part of the "journalists." How many national stories have been broken by Matt Drudge?

Remember, "bloggers" might have come to be known as "bjournalists" if the latter did not sound so Swedish; then the "journalists" would have had to go back to being reporters.

Jonathan Hoffman

Now, We Move to a Letter About That Commentator

In the guest commentary by Jonathan Hoffman on Jan. 19, he points to KIDCO and Jobpath as an "orgy of inappropriate municipal spending." I thought an orgy entailed more than two participants.

Nevertheless, spending for a program that features homework time and recreation for poor children (KIDCO) and a job-training program (Jobpath) isn't a waste of money to me. Maybe Mr. Hoffman doesn't know any single-parent households or families where both parents work and can't afford after-school child care, but most of us do. Perhaps he is not concerned about joblessness in Tucson. Thankfully, most of us are.

Joe Callahan

Next, a Letter Defending the Special-Interest-Lovin' City Council

The Jan. 19 Skinny item "Wealth Special Interest Alert!" is a ridiculous jab at the new Tucson City Council. You imply that by waiving the impact fees for the Barclay Group's proposed southside "power center," the new council members are going back on their pledge not to be in the pockets of wealthy special interests. In fact, Nina Trasoff and Karin Uhlich said countless times during their campaigns that they planned to work closely with the business community to build a better Tucson. If the new shopping center is a benefit to the city and needs a financial incentive to make it a reality, then the council members are fulfilling their campaign promise, not breaking it.

If you can make a case that the council put business interests ahead of the best interests of the city, then the members deserve to be criticized, but you made no case at all. You were just being cute, and in the process, you left an impression of hypocrisy on the part of the council that simply is not warranted.

David Safier

And Next Up Is a Screed Against Jim Hightower ...

Jim Hightower's misinformed and vaguely bigoted rant ("Our 'Made in China' Christmas," Jan. 19) demands corrections.

First, Shenzhen is an incredibly vibrant, cosmopolitan port city with a rapidly expanding middle class and rising wage levels, but it is not a place where significant low-tech manufacturing still occurs. Most production in Southern China takes place inland from Shenzhen in areas with lower land and labor costs. Shenzhen is simply the "mouth of the funnel" through which these goods pass.

Second, plastic Christmas trees (or any other commodities) that are being purchased by distributors in China for $4 at first cost would have a retail price closer to $9.99-$14.99--not $140. Mr. Hightower is misinformed--or simply making his data up.

Third, U.S. retail sales for Christmas 2005 were not universally "disappointing"; they were mixed. Some categories did better than expected, and some did worse.

In a recent article in Foreign Affairs magazine, C. Fred Bergsten, former assistant secretary of the treasury for international affairs, made the point that if the average U.S. worker spent just two years in community college beyond high school, the resulting enhancement in skill levels would be sufficient for the bulk of nonprofessional U.S. workers to dramatically benefit--rather than be victimized--by globalization.

So I'm curious--when one of your columnists gets his facts so wrong, when he distorts truths to serve his personal political agenda, is there a price to be paid for this kind of journalistic sloppiness?

David Frisch

... Followed by a Love Letter to Woody Allen

In my younger days, the first article I would check out in the Weekly was always the food review. Now I'm all about the movie reviews. Bob Grimm and James DiGiovanna are very trustworthy and reliable, as well as fun to read. But old DiGiovanna really screwed the proverbial pooch, so to speak--not in his review, but in his usual slanderous pre-, mid- and post-text banter, which, of course, I usually enjoy the hell out of. But come on; how can anyone talk trash about Woody Allen ("Sophisticated Surprise," Jan. 19)?

Woody has written and directed about 40 films! All of them are good; most of them are great, and more than a dozen of them are masterpieces! This is one man who has truly dedicated his life to the art of filmmaking. Woody has not only changed the motion-picture-making form as far as structure and continuity (Annie Hall, What's Up, Tiger Lily?, Manhattan), but he has also taken the camera to a new place, (Zelig, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Radio Days). The man is pure genius!

Even mentioning the scandal that went down about a decade back (way to be progressive there) is like mentioning those Jesus freaks who claimed that if one were to play Led Zeppelin albums backwards, one could hear satanic messages. That's exactly what it was/is--a big load of crap!

As far as the "coolness" of putting down an old timer, you really shit the bed on that one as well. Talking trash about Woody is like talking trash about Gandhi, Kubrick or John Coltrane: It makes no sense.

Edgar Mendians

And We Conclude With a Dissenting Opinion of Asian Fresh

I read Rita Connelly's review of Ronin Asian Fresh ("Out of Balance," Chow, Jan. 19). I have quite a different impression of that restaurant based on my multiple visits there.

To summarize my opinion: "Pei Wei diner be damned." The portions are huge, the service excellent and friendly (as Rita also acknowledged), and the flavors are really good and unique, though I do admit that in spite of my love of onions, they overdo it on the onion portion of their dishes.

The fortune cookies are the best I've ever eaten. They are always fresh and have a distinct vanilla flavor, not like so many of them in other Oriental-type restaurants, where eating the cookie is like munching on plywood.

On my last visit, I had the same salad Rita thought was the high point of her meals there: the minty Thai chicken salad. However, I loved the sweet soy, honey and sesame oil dressing. I've never tasted or smelled anything weird in any of their dishes.

I recommend this restaurant.

Maggie Aspell


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