Opinion divided on genocide bill Re "Genocide bill spurs Turkish envoy's recall," Oct. 12
The Turkish ambassador to the U.S. has been withdrawn, and there is an indication that Turkey is angry with the U.S. -- all because the U.S. may declare that the killing of about 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 was genocide. So it is necessary to ask, what has suddenly happened in the U.S. to bring this almost century-old matter to the political forefront?
This is not the sort of matter that ought to be occupying any political party in any country, other than perhaps the one where it happened. We know that a government change is possible in the U.S. in the near future, and in that change perhaps you ought to make certain you get rid of the clowns who are intent on creating unnecessary problems. Surely you have enough already?
When Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish descent, coined the term "genocide" in 1944, he specifically cited what had happened to the Armenians and later to the Jews as his impetus for coming up with a word that would effectively describe those horrors. If the word was invented for this purpose, why the dispute about using it to describe what happened to the Armenians? The word was created to describe this very event.
Why should one American soldier be put in harm's way for an Armenian who died in 1915? What happened in 1915 should stay in 1915. It is insane to go out of our way to insult an ally in 2007 for something that occurred in 1915.
What next, condemn Spain for the Inquisition?
Why is the Bush administration opposed to the possibility that Turkey may initiate military action against the Kurds in northern Iraq? We invaded Iraq partly because Saddam Hussein supposedly harbored Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization that threatened the United States. We threaten Iran because it provides arms to militias attacking U.S. troops. Kurdish rebels have already mounted cross-border incursions into Turkey from Iraq and then slipped back across the border. Surely Turkey has as much right to defend itself as does the U.S. Or is the doctrine of preemptive war reserved only for us?
Howard S. Blum
Re "Labeling genocide won't halt it," Opinion, Oct. 15
Niall Ferguson suggests that labeling the massacre of Armenians in World War I a genocide makes the "posturing and irresponsible Congress" complicit in Iraqi genocide. Whether the resolution was advisable or not, for an Iraq war advocate like Ferguson to blame the current Democratic Congress for the humanitarian catastrophe that is Iraq requires an unmatched level of gall. Surely, Mr. Ferguson, you must be joking.
On a different page Re "Residual resentment slows Hollywood talks," Oct. 16
In this article, former Screen Actors Guild official Anne-Marie Johnson says: "I had to make a choice of continuing to work or care for my mother. ... I told my manager, 'Don't call me.' ... Residuals saved my life." While it is admirable that Johnson refused work to care for her mother, she simply faced the dilemma that many people face, but very few of us have the resources to follow such a course. Therefore, how much sympathy can we be expected to have, particularly when writers', actors' and directors' strikes will throw thousands of crew people and those in support businesses out of work?
Mideast policy Re "No high hopes on Mideast trip, Rice says," Oct. 15
I am afraid that the U.S. peace conference proposed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for November in Annapolis, Md., to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dead on arrival. The Palestinians and the Arabs want to discuss the premises for a viable Palestinian state, but Israel and the Jewish lobby don't want to hear of it. Unfortunately, Rice is not in control of America's Mideast policy; the Israel lobby is.
Reno S. Zack
Don't blame the mountains Re "Region's transit a hostage to terrain," Oct. 16
How about building a two-track inter-urban rail system, because two tracks of heavy rail can carry as many people as 35 lanes of freeway?
It would be a lot cheaper, wouldn't waste land or fill up feeder roads with more cars and could run on electricity using much more efficient stationary generation.
Our region is not a hostage to terrain; it's hostage to a culture of self-indulgence bred by an auto and oil industry addicted to subsidy in the form of free infrastructure -- hypocrites who denounce spending a dime for rail when we've spent billions to plaster our entire topography with concrete for roads that remain ever insufficient.
We are hostage to bad habits, nothing more. Don't blame the mountains.
I was mortified to hear truck drivers involved in or near the Newhall Pass tunnel accident put primary blame for the carnage on the tunnel design.
As a commuter through the pass since 1977, I can attest that many of the truck drivers are primarily at fault. They are notorious for two daily major infractions -- speeding and tailgating. It is not uncommon for truck drivers to tailgate vehicles at unsafe speeds, particularly through the Newhall Pass, so close to one another that they drive semi-connected, like a parade of elephants at a circus.
Before blaming tunnel design, these drivers need to slow down. Maybe fewer accidents of any kind will occur.
No class Re "L.A. Unified to get $600 million for construction," Oct. 15
I trust some of the funds will be used to hire architects who don't design schools as if they were warehouses. Schools that have been built in the last few years would vie for first place in an ugly building contest.
Nuñez's spending, and his record Re "Nuñez defends lavish tab for travel," Oct. 13
State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez's vain attempt to justify his embarrassing spending habits only further points to his lack of understanding of the "average person." After having days to get his act together, the best Nuñez could do was state one flimsy excuse after another. As with many politicians, Nuñez doesn't have a clue as to how "we" live.
It's time he either wakes up or walks out.
Nuñez believes that the use of campaign funds to pay for extravagant travel expenditures and other goodies is legal, and unfortunately state law backs him up for the most part. However, the overseas trips and "office expenses" paid to upscale retailers such as Nordstrom and Williams-Sonoma most certainly do not pass the smell test. The stench from this particular spending loophole is not unlike the aroma of the hot goat's cheese appetizer at Le Grand Colbert restaurant in Paris, where Nuñez spent $1,795 on a "meeting."
Rancho Santa Margarita
Am I missing something? Nuñez found it necessary to spend $8,745 so he could stay four blocks from a government palace, and he also had a driver? What kind of example is he setting for our youth when he can't walk four blocks?
Re "Keeping up with Fabian," Opinion, Oct. 15
As a progressive activist, I am less concerned about the lifestyle Nuñez leads than what his voting record is on issues that affect working people. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) doesn't live a Spartan-like existence, and neither does presidential candidate John Edwards, but both have sterling records when it comes to pro-worker legislation. Let's keep an eye on Nuñez and see if he starts supporting candidates or writing bills that are blatantly pro-company. That will be a cause for real concern.
Love or hell? Re "Church divide over gays has a global audience," Oct. 14
So-called Christian churches ignore the priorities set by the Bible and Jesus himself when they exclude gays. They would have neither clergy nor members if they required everyone to perfectly conform to the Ten Commandments. They would never exclude any "sinner" if they remembered Jesus' teaching: the primary commandment is to love.
Churches must heed the inclusive teachings of Jesus: Judge not lest ye be judged, and don't pick at the dust in another's eye when you have not yet removed the old-growth forest from your own.
The Bible is very clear that homosexuality is an abomination to God, and all who engage in it without repenting (declaring it sinfully wrong and turning away from it) will be sent to hell (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).