Letters

Beware of “buzz” words

The New McCarthy?

September 24, 1998

First a thank you to Keith Hammond on the article; and secondly, what’s with the statement referring to a “Clintonesque wriggle”? I’m very concerned about the way in which the media is brainwashing us into thinking President Clinton has singlehandedly destroyed morals. I’m beginning to take note of this high use of “buzz words” in the media and the tally is growing into the unbelievable range. References to President Clinton are mentioned wherever they can possibly be inserted. President Clinton didn’t invent evasion, it’s been around forever.

By the by, I love your site and am looking forward to my first issue. Yours is one of the few sites where I can get a side of the news unavailable in the “normal media.”

Kenneth Lane


Just one small problem…

Shelving the Unions

September 21, 1998

Hi–

I just ran across Mat Honan’s August 4 article “Shelving the Unions” and felt that one of his statements was somewhat misleading and not entirely correct. Honan states that “[f]our stores wound up voting to unionize, all with the UFCW, although one of them subsequently voted to sever ties with the union.”

After UFCW Local 1776 tried to force the employees to accept a contract, the employees of the Bryn Mawr, Pa., store (where I worked and was a leader in the union drive) did petition the NLRB to decertify UFCW local 1776 as our representative for purposes of collective bargaining. This petition was signed by over two-thirds of the staff, including myself and other strong supporters of unionization. The local immediately filed an unfair labor practices charge against Borders, which meant that all action on our decertification petition was frozen.

Ultimately, the local filed a disclaimer of interest and voluntarily withdrew from the store. The employees did not vote to sever ties. Rather, the union went ahead and did it.

Sincerely,
Chris Iwane


Babies just aren’t safe

Danger in the Air

September 17, 1998

Now I know why my toddler gets sick after flying.

Thank you for Karin Winegar’s article on pesticides on domestic airlines. It is outrageous that the airlines routinely spray their aircraft with chemicals known to be carcinogens.

I plan to contact the airlines we routinely fly to register my complaint and I urge others to do the same.

Susan Berkson


…and another thing

September 17, 1998

Dear Sir, Madam, or Otherwise:

New Webpage Design
A) Your “Ass-Kicking, Mouse-Clicking New Webpage Design” is merely another example of form taking the place of function and/or content. The information that SHOULD be the raison d’etre for your existence takes longer to access and is less readable. Instead of being enamored with the whistles and bells of “multimedia presentation,” you SHOULD be concentrating on quickly accessible and easily readable presentation.

Windows Required
B) Why don’t you look into the REAL anti-trust violations that underlie Macroshaft’s domination of the software/operating system marketplace? I had to pay $50 “premiums” on SIX computers between 1984 and 1995 for the privilege of NOT using Macroshaft’s operating systems! Most people faced with paying a premium AND purchasing one of the other operating systems available for “PC’s” would (and did) just take Macroshaft’s subsidized “offering.”

Concentration Camp or Summer Camp?
C) Whereas the underlying reason for the “relocation” of Japanese-Americans during WWII was racist in nature, the FACT is that the “concentration camps” they were placed in WERE, compared to every other historical place where we use the term “concentration camp,” “country club estates.” The man who maintained my parent’s yard and gardens (Frank Namba) lost his family’s farm near Kent, Wash., during the “relocation” of WWII. This IS a situation that DOES need redressing through national policy. However, another friend of mine (Frank Tashiro) was in Japan when Pearl Harbor was attacked and was imprisoned by the Japanese government because, as the grandson of emigree Japanese, he couldn’t be trusted by the Japanese government. (Frank Tashiro’s “position” was never question.)

Frank Namba spent (I believe) a year and a half “interned” before being released to join the 441st infantry. While his family’s conditions in the “camp” were never excellent, they WERE generally fed, clothed, and housed in “reasonable” conditions. Frank Tashiro, on the other hand, spent the entire war locked into a prison camp in Korea. The ONLY reason (according to Frank) he survived was that one of the prison guards in the “camp” was a member of his class in blacksmithing (which is why Frank was in Japan) and smuggled him crusts of food at great personal risk. He worked 16-18 hours per day in various mines in Korea. By war’s end, Frank Tashiro, who stands approximately 5’5″ tall, weighed less than 60 lbs.

As a white American, I recognize the debt of honor owed to those who were abused by our government. I believe it is important for our government to admit that it knew that the Japanese government would never “trust” an emigree to act on their behalf. (My father was in the U.S. Navy BEFORE Pearl Harbor and HE saw documents stating that there was no way the Japanese government would use expatriate Japanese for “actions against American interests.”) This was an act that was purely racist in nature and should be admitted as such.

Conversely, attempting to equate the actions that the American government took with respect to people of Japanese descent, racist though they were, with the conditions in Nazi and Japanese concentration camps is unconscionable! There was a VAST difference in treatment accorded Japanese Americans and the murderous acts perpetrated upon those imprisoned by the Axis powers. There was and is a very real difference between the two. The attempt to “equate” the situations is historical revisionism of the worst sort.

Lew Merrick