Baltimore City Paper

The Mail 3/11/15

A Deacon in the Night
I’m writing with regard to the beautiful Dan Deacon interview by Karen Peltier (“The Influence of Anxiety,” Feature, Feb. 25). Their conversation touched on many of the essential questions regarding music and creativity, not to mention the fundamentals of being human and staying sane. The omniscience of music, money vs. joy, band vs. solo, acoustic vs. electronic, stress, silence, boredom, psychedelics, Bill Murray . . . What else is there? Thanks for a little intelligent company on a snowy night.
Anne Watts
Cambridge, Md.
For the Love of Qayum

This letter is in response to the article written by Baynard Woods ("Exile on Charles Street," Feature, March 4) about Qayum Karzai and his family.

The first half of the article was focused on the history of the family and the successful restaurants they have established in Baltimore City.


My concern is that later in the article there were allegations suggesting that Qayum may be a behind-the-scene, unethical manipulator in his native country, Afghanistan. The source for this description was a recent book which made various unsubstantiated allegations. Unless this information is verified, I suggest that it is irresponsible for a journalist to repeat it.

For the past almost 15 years I have had a business relationship with Qayum and his family. They have operated Tapas Teatro, adjacent to the Charles Theatre. All of our dealings with them have been direct and positive and I consider myself a friend and a great admirer.


The Karzais have contributed a great deal of time, effort, and money in Baltimore City and their contribution has enhanced the ambience of the city that we all enjoy.

We should all thank this honorable and hard working family.

Buzz Cusack

I am writing in reference to your recent article on the Karzai family and their restaurants. As a longstanding friend of the Karzai family (they catered my daughter's wedding) and fan of their restaurants, I generally applaud the piece. It certainly captures their skill as restaurateurs. It salutes their closeness as a family. And the writer seems to appreciate a superb dish of rabbit and pumpkin in the Afghan style.

Where the piece, and the writer, falls dreadfully apart is his "reporting" on Qayum Karzai and Afghanistan, and a lot of hearsay and innuendo from book author Sarah Chayse [sic]. Your reporter is at least honest enough to admit she has no proof for any of her charges. So why did you print any of them?

(My bone fides in this is a 16-year tenure as Editor of Baltimore Magazine, where we won the National Magazine Award for News Reporting, and, prior to that, one those founding "The Paper," Baltimore's first free paper, and work at the Baltimore News American. So I know something about reporting. In 1973-1975 I lived and worked in Kabul as a Fulbright Professor, and after 2001, worked on the board of Afghans for Civil Society helping Qayum Karzai and his wife Pat bring development to Southern Afghanistan. So I know something about Afghanistan and Qayum Karzai.)

Sarah Chayse, quoted at exhaustive length in the article, who is promoting her latest book, worked for Afghans for Civil Society, to decidedly mixed results. I am very familiar with Ms. Chayse, as I had to fly to Boston, where she and her sister had set up an office for Afghans for Civil Society, and I was accompanied by Qayum Karzai and another board member who is a former assistant treasurer of a Fortune 500 company. After we viewed the financial chaos run by Ms. Chayse and her sister, we wrested control of the books and the bank accounts from them and their cronies. I became the signatory on the bank account to prevent any further shenanigans.

Ms. Chayse's "career" in Afghanistan under ACS is checkered to say the least. She continues to peddle conspiracy theories about Qayum Karzai, although, as your article points out, with no concrete evidence.   She also is demonstrably delusional about facts, in just one example, she continues to insist that Afghans for Civil Society was incorporated in Delaware, which it was not. I know, I was on the board, she was not.

It is a shame an otherwise terrific article about the Karzai family was blemished with Ms. Chayse's self-promotion.


Anyway, the food part and the family history was great!

Stan Heuisler

Gloria Steinem could have saved herself a lot of time if she just came out and said what she really believes: Every problem in this world is because of men.

–“Travis Bickle,” March 3

Some of us were here in the 1980s and have very good memories of the insanity that was the city jail. No, we don't want it back. The city government can't be trusted with the jail. (The state is unqualified to run it either, for that matter)

–“Cham101,” March 4

Oh ... for the love of God! I thought that running Baltimore City was enough of a song and dance show!?

–“Larry Wiczulis,” March 3

If she wants to sing and dance let her do it, after her term as mayor is over. We have too many issues in this city for her to play broadway star on the city's dime.

–“Debbie Johnson,” March 3

When she gets done shimmying can she start getting the shitty ass roads taken care of?

–“Kynna B,” March 3

This is real? This can't be real. Please tell me you made this up. The audio quality is awfully good for having recorded it backstage.....

–“TMc,” March 4

I guess next she'll be on dancing with the stars...

–“Mansa Musa,” March 4

Get off that stage immediately and get these pot holes fixed. Have you been over the Hanover St bridge?

–“Alan LeMay,” March 4

Tough to shovel snow in that dress.

–“Brian Sturm,” March 4

Sigh! She really needs to stop trying to make herself relevant and stop trying to create this image of being this normal down to earth person. Everybody who lives here knows that ain't even true.

–“Meesh BeAuthentic,” March 4
Wow people. Wow. Some hateful trolls you all are. I think Mayor Rawlings Blake is doing an awesome job. She is not on the road crew; the idea that she should personally be out fixing pot holes is ridiculous. This is a one night performance... not a tour. I am happy to have a mayor so supportive of the arts and that she is willing to take all this crap from a bunch of finger pointers for a night of fun for her supporters. She was asked to do this obviously, and it costs the city nothing so get something real to complain about.
–“Brandon Nicklas,” March 4

She should practice how to be a Mayor instead of trying to star in a musical smh.. she looks pretty though.

–“Faye Tiffaney Taylor,” March 5

I love her she's fabulous

–“NeNe Braxton-Leakes,” March 5

They've already served our country, it's only fair to cut them some slack.

–“thunda n lightnin,” March 5

Let's not forget about the public safety retirees. After serving for more than 36 years, I retired from the law enforcement field about a year ago, and I'm waiting for my wife to retire in 2 years before we make a final decision about moving. We've given serious consideration to selling our home and taking the proceeds south to a more tax-friendly state like Tennessee or Florida. All will be dependant upon what the state legislature finally decides to do, but we'll also be taking both of our pensions with us, not to mention our lifetime savings. Wake up Maryland. If this becomes a sour grapes issue, Maryland will not only lose some of its most dedicated residents, but the revenue we put back into the community as well.

–“Dan,” March 5

You're a wanker with anger issues. Why do you live in Baltimore? No one even knows where that is anymore.

–“Islander,” March 5
Oh my here we go another male writer trying to be hip and cool, trying to tell the world look at me I’m a feminist but wait...I’m a male!!! Oh you didn’t really like this show but you want people to read what you write so you looked for scenes where you think that they are against women (but of course you fail to mention the scenes where it’s anti-male) because the only people who will read this are feminists. This is a sitcom that did extremely well, that isn’t against anyone it’s there for entertainment. You didn’t like it that’s fine, but don’t go looking for these huge problems that aren’t there.
So they didn’t mention 9/11, as if everything that takes place during that time needs to show this (maybe the writers thought that since the images of that day were everywhere and since it brings pain to so many people, they decided not to show it since people watch shows like this to forget their lives and be entertainment for 30mins), so you might see nipples on women (oh my how sexist how dare the actresses let their nipples be shown, oh they didn’t want to show them they were forced because society is so against women?! Give me a break), so the characters are full of themselves and lack empathy (every character doesn’t have to be acceptable, they can all be evil people since you know what IT’S FICTION), etc.
(It’s one thing to not like this show, it’s another to try and make it seem like the creators of this show were sexist, racist etc). Anyway, I was more into ‘Seinfeld’ than this show. I came across this article cause I thought it would be some thoughtful critique of the show and not someone fishing for attention (you’re a feminist male who believes all the feminist lies so you have to find anything popular in society and state how sexist it is Hurray!!!).
–“Andy Skull,” March 8

This is some fucked up shit man.......the poor librarian I hope she sued for millions of dollars

–“Sara Jones Oden,” March 7