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Going Postal 

Icing on the cake
As a culinary professional, I found myself deeply offended by Cliff Bostock's April 25 Grazing column. While in Spain, Bostock encounters a young pastry cook who strikes him as smart and "well-read." Bostock proceeds to expound and harumph on the sorry state of American culinary professionals with such gems as: "In America, someone as smart as you might work in a bakery or restaurant in between jobs. But with the exception of a few high-end pastry chefs, it's not a career that demands a lot of respect".

Excuse me? He goes on to belittle Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales (the two top culinary schools in the U.S.) as producing "mediocre artists." Mr. Bostock, I am a J&W graduate and have been in the field of baking and pastry for over 20 years. I consider myself to be well-read and intelligent -- more so than most since I rarely engage in the idiot's pursuit of stereotyping. I am no great artist but have always taken great satisfaction in making people happy through the food I create. Bostock touts the European apprenticeship system (essentially, indentured servitude) as superior to the U.S. culinary academies. Perhaps it is in some ways. But he fails to mention that many Europeans enjoy access to government health care, excellent public transportation and affordable housing which allows them to work for peanuts and still concentrate on their training. Entry level American workers must earn a living from day one.

Perhaps trolling the globe in search of comped meals has made Mr. Bostock a bit jaded. How else to explain the blanket contempt he lavishes upon the practitioners of the very discipline he professes to love? More troubling still is that Mr. Bostock is also a licensed therapist. Can you imagine getting career counseling from this guy?! Mr. Bostock owes all of us in the culinary field an apology.

-- Steve Kilbride, Atlanta

Conservative contempt
Richard Shumate's essay on the brilliance of Bush's first 100 days in the White House (Flip Side, "Have Dubya's First 100 Days Been a Success?" April 18) is a wonderful example of the colossal arrogance, as well as the utter stupidity of the conservative mind. Bush has picked a "Cabinet that provides diversity without sacrificing merit"? Just what "merit" do John Ashcroft, Gale Norton and Spence Abraham offer except their status as rank-and-file Republican suck-ups?

And there are no reasons for investigations, subpoenas, grand juries? The reality is, George Bush is a bigger crook than Bill Clinton ever dreamed of being on his worst day. Dubya's sleazy past in the "awul bidness" down in Texas proved that.

He traded shamelessy on his family name, reaping millions while his investors went broke. And let's not forget first brothers Neil and Jeb. Neil's "ethical disability" cost the American taxpayers a billion dollars because of his involvement in the Silverado Savings and Loan collapse. Jeb consorted with known felons while he was involved in the biggest HMO-Medicare scam in history.

If Bill Clinton had bilked investors out of millions of dollars, I'm sure Shumate and other conservative mouthpieces would be screaming for investigations, indictments, etc. If he had had relatives who cost the U. S. taxpayer in excess of a billion dollars ... well, we don't need to draw any pictures for that one, do we?

And no need for psychoanalysis of the Prez and his First Lady? The first daughter has shown she knows how to abuse the system. It was reported in March that Jenna Bush used a secret service man to spring her underage drunken boyfriend out of a Texas hoosegow. White House officials and a Secret Service spokesman refused to comment. Since this is the Bush clan not saying anything, that's pretty much the end of it. But substitute the name Chelsea Clinton for Jenna Bush, and it would still be major news a month later. Republicans would demanding congressional inquiries and Special Counsels. The "liberal" corporate media would be lamenting the latest White House scandal. There would certainly be subpoenas issued for the Clintons for refusing to comment.

Let the record show that while millions of Americans may be buying into the crap spewed by Richard Shumate in his article, there are also those who see this president, and his entire family, for the frauds and the felons that they are.

-- Will Robinson, Atlanta

It does a body good
Have you ever paid $1.67 per gallon for gasoline, then to drive one mile down the road and find the same company selling the gas you just bought for cheaper, say $1.49 per gallon? When it happens you shake it off as just a couple of cents difference. No worries. Just taxation. I'll remember next time, etc.

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