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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Kevin Costner, Nov/Dec 00

(continued from page 1)

The Cuban exile community's seriously flawed advocacy efforts are finally being exposed (thanks to the Elián controversy). It's interesting to note that in your article, real estate broker Sylvia Iriondo cites the exiles' "success" in thwarting the agricultural lobby's efforts to lift the embargo. She may have fallen to a periodical's publishing deadline, but it underscores the crux of the Cuban exiles' problem with America: they may control and "get" Miami, but they are clueless about the entirety of the American landscape.

Manny Gonzalez
Beverly Hills, California

Dear Marvin,

As one who is politically active, I'm always delighted to read others' thoughts on the great policy debates of the day. However, I hope future essays pursue intellectual honesty, whereas Mike Farrell's attack on capital punishment (October 2000) merely appeals to emotion.

With all due respect to Mr. Farrell--and indeed to celebrities everywhere--I submit that there is no death penalty in America. According to the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 1993 to 1998, an average of 20,000 murders were committed each year in the United States, 3,100 murderers were housed on "death row" annually and approximately 50 were executed each year.

In 1998 alone, more than 16,900 homicides were committed, and America mustered the fortitude to execute a record high of 98 condemned killers.

That is no death penalty, at least in the sense that it could influence the culture and deter widespread crime. Here in New Jersey, for example, we are unable to dispatch even those who gun down policemen or rape and murder little girls. Don't you suppose that if even 40 percent of condemned murderers paid the ultimate price for crimes each year, as was the case during the mid 1950s, we'd enjoy reductions in crime?

If Mr. Farrell seeks fairness, then he should fight the corruption that condemns the innocent. (And let's do without the "race card," because since 1975 the majority of prisoners on death row have been white.) If saving innocent lives really is Mr. Farrell's true calling, then may he take on America's abortion business by challenging the legality and morality of the industrial slaughter of 1.5 million unborn children each year.

Jay Hochberg
Caldwell, New Jersey

Dear Marvin,

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