News & Opinion » Mailbag



An Alternate Review of 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Out of the millions of people who saw The Dark Knight Rises, Bob Grimm must be the only one who cared so incessantly about Bane's voice ("A Somber Gotham," Cinema, July 26). Terrifying dialogue is no good if you can't understand it. His voice needed no effects; his lines were terrifying enough. (Kudos to the Nolan brothers on a great script.) It was Michael Caine's maudlin over-acting that was the worst in the movie. I expect more from a master actor.

Joe Callahan

Danehy's Column on Stupidity Was Itself Rather Stupid

Tom Danehy, you are certainly a master at turning a phrase: "... the national period of dumbing down is coming to an end, having been replaced with an accelerated program of stupiding down. Apparently, the old way wasn't creating morons at a rapid-enough pace." That is what I would call a quotable quote (Danehy, July 26).

Unfortunately, at least one of the references you make goes toward proving that this observation points to you as a prime example, with respect to your repetition of a ridiculous urban legend.

I would suggest that you view the film Hot Coffee. Given that the hot-coffee incident took place in Tucson, it would seem to me that it would have been easy for you to find out the facts before repeating a vicious and inaccurate canard. (Editor's note: Mr. Kohn is wrong on this point. See Danehy's column this week online for more.)

Also, were you really unable to find anything more illustrative of your point than people who take more than 15 items into the express checkout lane? How was stereotyping of black and Hispanic shoppers particularly relevant in making that point?

This was a stupid, pointless and poorly researched article.

David Kohn

Danehy Needs to Investigate the Hot-Coffee Case Further

Tom Danehy will get no argument from me regarding his general thesis that there's been an escalating "dumbing of America" for at least the last four decades.

However, he misses the mark by using the infamous McDonald's coffee suit, especially in his disparaging of Stella Liebeck as "the idiot woman." I, too, thought the case ludicrous until I found out the facts. The real test of intelligence is the ability to change one's mind. Here's hoping Tom is as intelligent as I assume him to be.

According to, Liebeck, then 79, was in the passenger seat of her grandson's car and ordered coffee that was served in a Styrofoam cup at the drive-through window. The grandson pulled forward and stopped momentarily so that Liebeck could add cream and sugar. Liebeck placed the cup between her knees and attempted to remove the plastic lid, and the contents spilled into her lap.

Liebeck suffered third-degree burns over 6 percent of her body. She was hospitalized for eight days, during which time she underwent skin-grafting. Liebeck sought to settle her claim for $20,000, but McDonald's refused.

During discovery, McDonald's produced documents showing more than 700 claims by people burned by its coffee in the 10 years prior. McDonald's also said that, based on a consultant's advice, it served coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees to maintain taste.

Further, McDonalds' quality-assurance manager said that the company requires that coffee be held in the pot at 185 degrees, plus or minus five degrees. He also testified that a burn hazard exists with any food served at 140 degrees or above. An expert in skin burns said that liquids at 180 degrees will cause third-degree burns in two to seven seconds. Other testimony showed that as the temperature decreases toward 155 degrees, the extent of the burn decreases exponentially.

The jury awarded Liebeck $200,000 in damages. This amount was reduced to $160,000 because the jury found Liebeck 20 percent at fault. The jury also awarded Liebeck $2.7 million in punitive damages—about two days of McDonald's coffee sales.

Frank Jude Boccio

It's Time to Restrict More-Dangerous Guns

It seems reasonable that the more deadly the weapon, the harder it should be to buy ("Russell Pearce Comments on the Aurora Shooting," The Range, July 22).

When it comes to 100-round or even 30-round clips, and semi-automatic and fully automatic guns, it would be appropriate for law-enforcement officers to interview a prospective buyer as to why he feels he needs such equipment. (Target shooting and hunting wouldn't get it, nor would a gun collection.) There should be a database with information about who owns what gun, with that information available nationally to gun dealers and law-enforcement agencies.

I've heard the argument that ownership of guns is essential to keep the government from tyrannizing us, and that the phrase "a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, etc.," somehow justifies the formation of militias to protect us from our government. We've got to pause with the phrase "a well-regulated militia." Does that mean a bunch of armed, paranoid yahoos? Or does it mean something that is well-regulated, like the United States Army?

They're whistling Dixie, anyway: The very idea of ever going up against the armed forces of the United States is the most foolish thing I've ever heard of.

William Winkelman

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Add a comment