Best Wishes

Plus: RAD Is Bad, In God's Name, and Ay, Carrabba!

There is a fear, I believe, that if you express compassion or vote yes on a liberal issue, you are not patriotic -- especially in Texas. In fact, you could quite possibly burn in hell for eternity for these actions, according to some.

Patrick Devine

Ay, Carrabba!

Dire prediction: Your News Hostage column ridicules shoddy reporting, and I think you should include yourself in it. Your article "Name Blame" [by Craig Malisow, September 19] was completely one-sided and unprofessional.

Your accusations against Damian Mandola are tantamount to accusations of racism; however, you are probably not aware that Mr. Mandola has several close Arabic friends in the Houston community. My husband works for Carrabba's, and I attended the annual employees' picnic and soccer game on July 4, 2001, months before September 11. I met Mr. El-Raheb there and was struck by his rude and contemptuous nature. His manner was in direct contrast with the frivolity of the day and the family environment that Johnny and Damian have created and sustained for the past 16 years.

At the time, I predicted that Mr. El-Raheb would not last long with the company. You did not obtain the facts before you wrote the article and owe Damian Mandola an apology.

Stella Stevens

Rahs for El-Raheb: Kudos to Mr. El-Raheb for having the balls to call attention to Mandola's behavior! My business partner and I were vendors working with Pesce during the time frame of this incident. Mr. El-Raheb, from my recollection, is the über-professional of his field. His actions and decisions have always been letter-perfect through our past associations. Alas, I know more than I want to about Mr. Mandola.

After leaving the restaurant following one of our meetings with him to make introductions and discuss business, he was reported to have pondered out loud whether my partner and I were *&$#-suckers!

Mr. El-Raheb's position was highly coveted by a close friend of Mr. Mandola. I wonder if Mr. Mandola will make this employee add the letter i to the end of her name so it will look and sound more Italian.

Name withheld by request

Chief Gripe

Salt of the earth: What a sad state of affairs that public officials should be allowed to speak to anybody, especially their subordinates, in such an evil, demeaning manner [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, September 26]. What makes a police chief believe that he can talk like that while being paid by the citizens to protect them from hoodlums that may not speak as "salty" as he?

I. Metherd

On Target

Mag force: I totally love it ["Hello My Name Is Texas Monthly," September 19]!

You hit the nail right on the head. I thought I was the only one who felt that way about Texas Monthly!

Mark Anderson

Medical Alert

Balanced coverage: I think you did a good job on this story ["Reality TV Bites," by Jennifer Mathieu, September 5] getting different opinions and getting the stories from everyone, not just certain people. My heart goes out to the family who lost one of their twin boys.

I like the show Houston Medical; it lets me know what's going on in the Houston hospitals. It's sad that they have had such a bad experience with the TV production companies. I can understand them wanting to see the tapes first, and they should have been able to see them before anyone else, and the TV camera operators should have cleaned up before entering the hospital again just as a common courtesy.

But I think overall you got the story out -- and it was good to get the different points of views, good and bad.

Krystle Miller

Shameless show: Thank you for bringing this situation to light. I have never commented on a Houston Press article before, but I was so moved by your article, I had to respond.

No one should have had to endure what Mr. and Mrs. Walter endured. That a camera crew filmed their tragedy is wrong and that the hospital allowed it is also wrong. What happened to the Hippocratic oath doctors take to "do no harm"? What happened to privacy for a mourning family?

This couple was devastated by the sudden, tragic death of their baby boy and on top of it had to endure shameless exploitation of their grief. The film went way over the bounds of common human decency. For what? Ratings, I assume. It is so, so sad.

I hope many people out there are as shocked about this as I am; maybe there is something we all could do to prevent this from ever happening to any unsuspecting, grief-stricken people again.

Connie Rose

Watching others' pain: Chad and Shani Walter should be ashamed of themselves. They state that they were exploited by New Screen Concepts, yet there they stand on the cover of the Houston Press, sharing their grief over their dead son. Is it okay to have it in print but not on the screen? They said that the death of their son was "full of private, painful moments they say they never wanted to share with anyone else." Well, I never even saw Houston Medical, and the death of their son was never shared with me until I picked up the Press and read the article they agreed to have done.

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