Letters

Man: Tying tubes = killing a child

RE: “Pro Life, No Choice

06/02/00

A woman’s freedom to kill her unborn child places no obligation on any health care provider to cooperate in the process — indeed, to deny them the right to choose is contradictory to the “pro-choice” philosophy.

Thomas D. Oellerich, Ph.D
Athens, OH



Even the responsible are outraged!

RE: “Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Loan

06/02/00

As a responsible, law-abiding middle aged adult who works for a college, I am outraged at the law to withdraw federal monies from any student convicted of the misdemeanor of smoking marijuana. What earthly purpose can such an over-legislative proposal even serve? A deterrent? Please think again!

Let’s get real here. This is an over-punitive measure that no person with half a brain would endorse. I am not about to support further tax dollars — my tax dollars — going for such pointless legislation.

Mrs. Peggie M. Davis



Jaywalkers, kiss your tenure goodbye

RE: “Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Loan

06/02/00

What next? Are they going to fire all the professors who have used drugs as well? Or fire the teachers who have any kind of blemish on their record? “Sorry, Dr. Roberts, we know you have two Ph.Ds and are an invaluable asset to our community, but we’re going to have to let you go — too many parking tickets and that blunt you smoked 10 years ago!”

Amy D. Rushin



World-weary enviro writes in

RE: “Downstream Effects

06/01/00

It is getting harder to get fired up about environmental issues anymore. We individuals who so much want to preserve the Earth are constantly being trampled by big-money conglomerates that couldn’t care less about the ecosystem. The article on bottled water points that out with its reference to Perrier’s use of the “rule of capture” law; the hell with the other land owners wells, Perrier will make their dime and run. If the people in Texas don’t buy Perrier’s water, so what? The health-conscious yuppies in the rest of the world will.

When will it end? Who knows? Maybe when the last well dries up and the water can’t be replenished fast enough.

Bill Sillies



A tsignificant tsunami?

RE: “Corruption Tsunami

06/01/00

Outstanding commentary! The issue of corporate rule of our society is one of profound significance and almost never discussed by our political leaders, since raising such issues would jeopardize the corporate largesse that they depend upon to retain office. There is a great deal of cynicism about the workings of western capitalist societies, as evidenced by low voter turnouts at elections and polls which repeatedly show that people believe the economy is unfairly biased in favour of special interests. Unfortunately, the anger continues to be directed primarily against government as an institution, rather than at the true power that lies behind it.

History tells us that significant progressive changes often follow cataclysms such as major wars and depressions, when peoples’ experience helps to focus attention on community and on democratic and human rights principles. Ralph Nader’s candidacy for the US presidency will hopefully provide an opportunity to bring some of these issues into the mainstream discussion, although the corporate media’s control of the presidential debates and the campaign in general presents some obvious difficulties.

Brian Bacon
Vancouver, Canada



Just clean up the rivers

RE: “Downstream Effects

05/31/00

What is interesting about the effects of increasing bottled water consumption is the root cause of this consumer effect. People are simply responding to the perceived notion that water quality is worsening and are ripe for a marketing jingle that promises crystal-clear spring water.

While it may be too much to claim that water quality is worsening, it is clear that US water resources are becoming increasingly stressed by consumptive demand from a variety of sources while at the same time becoming increasing affected by pollution, watershed degradation, etc. This perception may have scientific basis, as illustrated in the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently published “Atlas of America’s Polluted Waters” which shows that: “Over 20,000 waterbodies across the country are identified as not meeting water quality standards. These waterbodies include more than 300,000 miles of rivers and streams and more than 5 million lake acres. The overwhelming majority of Americans — 218 million — live within 10 miles of a polluted waterbody.”

It is sad to see that our natural wish for clean water, as shown by the increasing demand for bottled water, is having negative environmental effects. It seems to me that addressing the larger water quality issue and giving people clean water in their rivers and lakes would go a lot farther toward solving our water problems than a stream-by-stream battle for the ownership of our water.

Duncan Kenyon



Damn that little guy

RE: “General Electric’s Global Assault

05/31/00

As a former employee of a company that used to do business with GE, I agree wholeheartedly with your article. While I can understand their desire to maintain market share in areas in which low-cost competitors abound, they are also taking parts offshore in areas in which they are part of a very small oligarchy of companies, and in which price competition is limited.

While I am a capitalist at heart, GE is an example of capitalism gone awry. When workers no longer have employment stability and have falling wages just because of a company’s blind pursuit of higher profits and maximized stock valuation, then it is time to question the support we have of our current economic system. Unfortunately, this attitude has migrated out of GE, via companies such as Freemarkets.com, which was started by an ex-GE employee, and which tends to move jobs and technologies overseas at a blistering pace. Companies such as UTI, Emerson Electric, Allied Signal and John Deere have all jumped on the bandwagon. The little guy be damned.

T.D. Elleman



Still out of whack

RE: “Ward Connerly’s Newest Whine

05/31/00

In my opinion, affirmative action is a legitimate attempt to deal with the remnants of a racially discriminating society, the effects of which we still see all around us. The fact is that America was created by white people for white people, and in our four hundred years of development, we have built a society which reflects this way of thinking. One only needs to go to the nearest urban housing project to see that this problem still exists.

Many whites seem to still harbor some sentiment of vague superiority based upon their own egotistic indulgences, and they still have the numbers (and thus advantage) to reinforce this mentality, however insidious. As long as inequality exists, there should be some attempt to compensate.

Because standardized testing and subjective grade analyses are, in many ways, only indicators of how well individuals are able to follow the rules and conduct themselves appropriately in the white man’s world, according to the white man’s codes of behavior, whites continue to have an unfair advantage. Until our society is fully healed, I believe Connerly’s attempt to disrupt the healing process is premature. The goal should be to eventually end all preferences — he is right. But we just aren’t ready for that yet. Check the streets — you’ll see what I mean.

Mitch Renner



But where are the numbers?

RE: “Downstream Effects

05/30/00

The claims of harm mentioned in this article cannot be assessed without some useful numbers. By useful, I mean the total volume of water sold and the amount of water taken from any of the various sites which are used or would be developed.

For comparison purposes, much of the cotton on the high plains of Texas is irrigated from ground water. One acre of cotton takes approximately three acre-feet of water, or about a million gallons.

While the city of Austin, Texas, treats over 400 gallons of water per day per person, the nationwide average use inside the home is around 40 gallons per day per person; I doubt you drink over a gallon per day, whether water itself or in the form of coffee, juice, milk or cola. Note that San Antonio depends exclusively upon ground water.

While I do not doubt there can be problems, as stated in the article, I am not provided any useful information which could lead me to agree or disagree with any of the conclusions therein.

Art Eatman
Terlingua, Texas



Readers hate the school loan law, mostly

RE: “Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Loan

05/30/00

This is the most hypocritical, judgmental, and discriminatory law I have heard of in 30 years. This leaves no room for a second chance, no room to change by attending university and getting an education, and definitely no room for atoning for a mistake.

I am totally disgusted with this law, especially knowing that millions of those in positions of authority today were certainly not drug-free or sober when in college.

Patricia Hartner
Missoula, Mont.

 



05/30/00

I am a 31-year-old with a master’s degree who very rarely smokes pot.

I was a ward of the court when I was a child, so although I am white, I would have been in the same predicament as many other kids — black, yellow, brown, white, and poor — had I been caught with drugs when I was younger. I understand the minority issues in your story, but they don’t only apply to minorities.

School helped me get back on my feet. It got me out of my downward spiral in life, and showed me there was hope. Loans from the United States government provided that path. If it had not been for those loans, I would be at the bottom, or dead.

If I had ever been caught smoking pot, and lost those loans, I don’t know what would have happened to me. If I had been caught as a juvenile and had a drug arrest record for smoking pot, and as a result, never been able to clean myself up and go to college, I would be dead.

This law is wrong. It clearly will, and possibly currently is, discriminatory towards juveniles and young adults who cannot afford the required “rehabilitation” and it does not take into account the positive progress a student may be making, despite an occasional experiment with drugs.

Elizabeth Ellis

 



05/30/00

Every day I type police reports, many on possession or use of marijuana or alcohol. I have many more reports on underage alcohol. I see alcohol as a greater, more widespread threat than marijuana.

A crime is a crime is a crime. So this crime is more of a crime? Let the states or municipalities have their statutes and ordinances and keep the feds out of the schools.

Peggy Adsit

 



05/30/00

Why should I help pay for their subsidized loans and allow them to spend their money on illegal drugs? I would also like the same law to apply to any conviction students might have. It might help keep students studying rather than out spending their time protesting or breaking laws.

Lee



What about Eddie?

RE: “My First Kalashnikov

05/30/00

I think it is wonderful that Russian kids are given firearms operation and safety courses in public school. I’m sure many of your left-wing readers who admired the Russian Communist system see nothing wrong with this. And if they did not know that weapons training was going on in Russian public schools, then perhaps this is an example of poor reporting on the part of the liberal press during the Cold War?

The Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program that the NRA runs is an excellent way to introduce gun safety to American public school kids. But in New York City the liberals don’t want the program in the schools. What is the left wing afraid of?

Chris Taylor
Clarksville, Tenn.



Happy pills

RE: “Selling the Cure for Shopaholism

05/30/00

Antidepressants have become the magic happy pills in our society. There is no doubt that there are many folks whose suffering has been relieved by antidepressants because of a chemical imbalance in their bodies. However, in many ways this reminds me of how Valium and other prescription narcotics were used in the 1960s. Feeling blue? Here, have a little pill and everything will get better. Whatever happened to actually addressing the issues causing the depression?

I had a friend who had been depressed for about a month just after ending a six-year relationship and her doctor prescribed her Prozac. In many cases these drugs are being prescribed to treat natural and normal feelings. Addicts self-medicate to escape their feelings — the only difference here is it is medically sanctioned.

Miranda Criger



Creating unequal

RE: “Ward Connerly’s Newest Whine

05/30/00

I want to applaud Ms. Landis for writing the Ward Connerly article. The problem with Mr. Connerly, and others who share his view, is that he does not recognize that race still plays a factor in how people are treated in the United States and in the world.

People like Connerly are quick to scream their abhorrence of racial preferences when attacking affirmative action. Yet they never discuss the power that white (and light) skin has in this country. They never address the benefits of white privilege.

Mr. Connerly clearly believes that all higher education is the same, which is not true. If I tell someone I went to Bunker Hill Community College they will not give me the same respect as if I tell them I went to UC Berkley or Harvard, no matter how smart I am.

So why does Mr. Connerly want to keep people of color out of prestigious universities? It is already difficult for people of color to break through the ivory towers of prestigious universities and colleges without Mr. Connerly making it more difficult. I agree with Ms. Landis that he should focus his efforts on the beginning of the problem (inequalities in the public school system) rather than slamming the doors on those who worked hard and survived.

If Mr. Connerly truly believed in creating equality he would focus his energy on attacking the unspoken racial preferences given to whites instead of destroying attempts at creating a fair playing field.

April Love