To the Editor:
Why is it that nothing was made of President George Herbert Walker Bush's pardons of questionable people and so much is made of President Clinton's controversial pardons?
In addition to Bush's pardons of Casper Weinberger and other Iran Contra defendants, there were the pardons of three others who suspiciously helped Bush, his family and another senator directly.
Bush pardoned Armand Hammer, the oil man, who was convicted of laundering money to Nixon during the Watergate scandal, after Hammer gave $100,000 to the Republican Party and another $100,000 to the Bush-Quayle Inauguration Committee.
Another pardon went to the alleged mass murderer Orlando Bosch, an anti- Castro terrorist who was in jail for entering the United States illegally. It was firmly believed by American intelligence and law enforcement authorities that he was responsible for the 1976 explosion that brought down a Cuban airliner, killing all 76 civilians aboard. The Justice department wanted him deported; instead, he was pardoned and allowed to live in Florida. The people that lobbied hardest for his release were Jeb Bush and Jeb Bush's Cuban exile business partners.
Last, a clemency order was issued freeing Aslam Adam from Butner federal prison in North Carolina. A Pakistani national, Adam had by then served eight years of a 55 year sentence for smuggling $1.5 million worth of heroin into the United States. His good friend and benefactor was Jesse Helms, Republican senator from North Carolina.
Bush pardoned the Iran Contra defendants, a Watergate felon, a mass murderer and a heroin smuggler. This sounds like hypocrisy to me.
-- Patricia Bond
All that and a bag of chips
To the Editor:
I agree with Dr. Laura.
Let's get real, people. Dr. Laura and Dave Schultheis are right. It should take some serious consideration before a legally sanctioned, church-recognized marriage is dissolved.
For years gays and lesbians have been denied the right to marry based on religious beliefs that marriage is holy and should be allowed only between one man and one woman. It has been said that same-sex marriage denounces traditional family values. The very existence of heterosexual marriage is shaken at its foundation because of the impossible dream of equal rights for gay and lesbian marriages.
Given that this holy institution is not a right for all, but a privilege for some, then let's hold the value up for all to see. If it is all that and a bag of chips, heterosexuals should not be able to quickly jump ship in a rocky marriage. A year of mandatory counseling should set the record straight, so to speak, and give guidance to those who would turn their backs on such a sanctified and holy union.
If a heterosexual couple can be married on a whim, then it should take a miracle to end it. Careful consideration should be given when ending a state- recognized marriage. Heck, a year of counseling may not even be enough! Let's face it, the Internal Revenue Service would be much better off with all those marriage penalty taxes; the children will grow up in "normal," albeit unhappy, two-parent homes; the universe will retain its natural order and the heterosexuals will just have to quit whining about having to stay married, especially because I can't even get married.
-- Carolyn Cathey
It's not about you
To the Editor:
Regarding the Your Turn by Mr. Michael Merrifield and the letter by Mr. Jonathan (Feb. 15) relating to Steve Schuck ... Frankly, I only wish there were more people like Steve Schuck in our community. Individuals who are willing to open their hearts and pocketbooks to the poor and disadvantaged are not rare, but are not a large segment of our community either. I am thankful for Steve and individuals like him who are willing to use their resources to help those kids who cannot help themselves. He is also willing to take the heat that comes from being a public figure.
A recent survey revealed that minority children graduating from public schools do not receive the same education as whites graduating from the very same institutions. Blacks are graduating at the equivalent of an 8th grade education as compared to whites. What does that mean? Well, it means that blacks will always be behind; it means that they will always be a significant part of the underclass. It also means more social programs, more crime, more drugs, more jails, and it means some blacks will always need a hand out rather than a hand up. To some readers, you say, "So what, it is not my child." That is exactly why I applaud Steve Schuck. It is not his child either. However, he is willing to extend a hand to the less fortunate.
Let me also say, quality teachers don't need a union. If the semi-mandatory teachers' unions have helped teachers, then why are teachers paid slightly less than a prison guard with little to no formal education? Quality teachers will always be in demand with or without vouchers. Steve Schuck is not to be feared or hated. Through competition, quality teachers will likely be paid higher salaries and be free to teach.
School choice, which includes vouchers, will only create competition within the educational arena. It will provide parents -- many of whom don't have a choice -- a choice of where to send their children. If a parent would like to stay in a failing urban school, then that will be the parents' choice. I doubt many parents will accept that choice.
Schuck is only offering poor parents a way out for their children; some will take it and some will not. I for one would rather see poor kids with a voucher than in a set of handcuffs.
I am glad there are individuals like Mr. Schuck. I am glad that there are key members of the Walton family who have chosen philanthropy as a means to community involvement, and I am glad that there are many others across the nation who are willing to try to make a difference. We cannot continue to incarcerate our poor and disadvantaged youth at the current rate. Something must be done and we as individuals, groups, organizations and communities must do it.
My hat is off to Mr. Merrifield and the many dedicated teachers like him who have made a difference in the lives of so many children in his career. However, understand this is not about you; it is about a system that is failing to provide an equal education to all of its consumers, our kids, our future.
-- Willie H. Breazell, Sr.
Black Alliance for Educational Options
To the Editor:
As someone who has used extensively the surrealist method of drawing, entoptic graphomania -- in which dots are made at the site of impurities in a blank sheet of paper and lines are then made between the dots -- I am extremely appreciative of Deepak Shrestha, Tom Leech and Jake Norton's love for and valuing of paper ("Kathmandu Through a Paper Filter," Feb. 22).
Paper can be so much more than the virginal white sheet (chemically bleached) with which we are familiar. Stained with (as the article alludes) the tears of lovers and bearing the commands of generals, it would be difficult to imagine in what way paper has not changed the world. Yet paper in its surface and in its fiber is seen only as banal -- its silk and dullness, its spot and sheen either not perceived or met with indifference. Alienation from the objects which surround us led us to this indifference -- the laser printer spits out the office memos, and it is left to the (exceptional) artist to experiment with surface and medium.
We remain dimly aware that paper appropriate for a pink slip is not appropriate for an ice-hockey ticket, not appropriate for a love letter, not appropriate for a Japanese house, but, blind to what we use and what surrounds us, we do not think of questioning the paper's surface, which, if it is seen at all, is seen as "tyranny" (by victims of "writers' block"). Only in the East is there adequate appreciation for this medium. Let us in the West explore, create and use papers not only of utility but of inutility.
-- Daniel C. Boyer
One size does not fit all
To the Editor:
The following is the entire content of a letter I sent to State Rep. David Schultheis regarding his poorly thought-out legislation (HB1342):
I am a resident of Mountain Shadows and currently licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of California.
This is the same license held by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. While I would not pretend to know what the majority of our licensees, or those in this state, would think about your proposed legislation, I can assure you that there would be extensive discussion regarding the ethical implications of advocating for legislation that would benefit our profession so directly and I can also assure you that overnight a whole industry of less than scrupulous practitioners would spring up to capitalize on the mandate. Our profession is no different than any other; we are subject to the same human frailties as the rest of the population.
Human frailty is the reason why your proposed legislation will not provide the remedy that you appear to be seeking. Divorce is a complex subject, one that does not lend itself to simplistic solutions. My parents divorced when I was sixteen. It was a good choice for both of them and they did it without counseling.
Lest I be identified as an advocate of divorce, it should be said that my husband and I have been married for 45 years and managed to raise three responsible children who are contributing members of society. Before my retirement and move to Colorado, I was the Clinical Director of a Methodist Church Counseling Center. This was an outreach program of that congregation and benefited the community at large. Paradoxically, because the church represented a safe haven to many troubled families, our caseload contained the gamut of dysfunction in society. We provided services to incest victims and to families where one or both parents had psychiatric disorders.
These are just a couple of the types of cases where a "one size fits all" piece of legislation could inflict more trauma on the children of the family and prevent a functional parent from providing a more productive existence to his or her children The idealism that your proposed legislation represents does nothing to address the root cause of the problem. It would make better sense to make it more difficult to embrace of Orthodoxy does not elevate her to a position to "judge" others.
While you were not elected by a mandate of the people, you did accept the responsibility of enacting legislation that would govern us. Counseling is my profession and it can provide substantial benefits to society but I would strongly urge that my profession not prostitute itself to support this proposed legislation. This proposal is rife with the absolutism that governs the faithful and has no place in government. It is my hope that you remember that the separation of church and state are important tenets of our political system. If you cannot accept this precept, you have no right to your office.
-- Patricia A. Poos