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N. Korea missile threat
Re “U.N. is split on response to N. Korea,” April 6
Once again, the United Nations Security Council fails to come to a hasty agreement when countries need it most.
When a threat such as North Korea's missile launch becomes evident, shouldn't we put aside our differences and try to craft a response that might quickly put a stop to the danger?
It is fortunate that this rocket failed to send a satellite to orbit. But the next time an issue similar to this threatens our peace, how are we supposed to quickly solve the problem if no country is willing to sacrifice a little to benefit everyone?
Re “North Korea launches rocket,” April 5
So the U.S. is shocked to find that a country has developed nuclear weapons as well as the ability to launch payloads into space and hit far-flung targets, all at the whim of a dangerously fanatical leader!
Who would want to perpetrate such a threat to peace, nay, to life itself? God forbid the day will come when someone will drop one of these heinous weapons, or perhaps two, on major cities, killing untold numbers of innocent people and leaving a poisonous radioactive legacy for generations to come.
Wait a minute! The U.S. already did all those things. Never mind.
Kim Jong Il to starving North Koreans: "Let them eat rockets!"
Investigate the 'war on terror'
Re “Judging the war on terror,” editorial, April 4
Questioning the Obama administration and its hesitancy regarding investigations about possible violations of our Constitution and the Geneva Convention is past due.
Dick Cheney has openly admitted to waterboarding. Outing a CIA agent is also a crime. The invasion of Iraq, which has cost so many innocent lives, and the deceitful buildup that led to it also need to be fully investigated.
If we allow the administration to sweep all of these possible crimes under the rug, it amounts to collusion -- and it will happen again.
All of the beautiful speeches of President Obama's trip abroad will mean nothing if there is not a complete investigation. A special prosecutor would be a great idea.
Re “Truly an American tragedy,” April 4
Now that 14 people are dead from a rampage shooting in Binghamton, N.Y., can we do something about gun control in this country? We have an articulate, intelligent and dignified president who is abroad trying to do something about the tarnished image of this country. And how do we help him? By slaughtering each other?
It is time to get guns out of the hands of Americans. How dare we ever point the finger at "uncivilized" countries -- we are one of them.
The right thing
Re “Woman held in crash that killed one USC student, injured another,” April 4
Why does it take a reward to make people do the right thing -- in this case, offer a tip leading police to the alleged hit-and-run driver who killed a USC student last month?
What happened to integrity? What happened to moral principles?
Betting on regulation
Re “State lottery fails to inspire public,” April 5
The Times writes that overhauling the lottery may "open the door for more gambling by low-income residents who can ill afford it."
If it is really the responsibility of society to guide low-income residents through life, then I suggest that the government do what it does best -- regulate. I can even see the sign: "Low-income residents caught playing the lottery may be fined up to $5,000."
Rancho Palos Verdes
The correct way to admit students
Re “The hard no,” Opinion, April 3
I applaud Angel B. Perez, director of admission at Pitzer College, for investing so much in choosing the best students. I am particularly impressed with Perez for not simply accepting students based on the "numbers" -- their test scores and grade-point averages.
I teach at a secondary school in Los Angeles, and too many of my students obsess over their grades.
Through standardized testing, many of our educational institutions attempt to quantify a student's knowledge. But passion for life and learning should be given as much weight, if not more, than these numbers.
Perez and Pitzer College seem to be doing their part. What about the rest of us?
Robert W. Kahn
Re “Private tuition is up just 4%,” April 5
Your article about private universities imposing an average of 4% tuition increases this year implies that the public colleges are gouging their students with their 10% fee increases.
You fail to mention that the fee increases by public universities have been a response to large reductions in state support. Increases at private universities are simply a reflection of what their markets will bear.
We often hear that private industry can do everything more efficiently than the public sector. However, public universities educate students at about one-third of the cost at private universities. They provide a good education to students whose families cannot afford to send them anywhere else. It is hard to understand how state governments can be so cavalier about cutting the budgets of these public treasures.
The lowly 4% tuition increases that the privates are imposing this year reflect the effect on the wealthy of the current economic disaster. Look for more substantial increases when the economy improves.
We never learn
Re “Free speech and 9/11,” editorial, April 4
Your defense of Ward Churchill, former ethnic studies professor at the University of Colorado, spells out all that's wrong with many American universities today. Not only is Churchill offensive, as you admit, but he's also a lousy professor -- he falsified research, and he is a second-rate academic.
But from your perspective, his poor academic credentials can be forgiven because of his "right to freely express unpopular views." I highly doubt this paper would forgive a second-rate professor who publicly espoused that blacks were inferior or homosexuals should be arrested.
Hiding bad performance under the cloak of free speech infuriates those of us paying tuition for our children to hear garbage like Churchill's.
Driving home a point abroad
Re “How American is Obama’s parking lot?” Top of the Ticket, April 5
I worked in Europe for Ford for about 20 years. At foreign embassies and consulates, the cars of all the officials were their national makes. At the British Embassy, diplomats drove Rolls-Royces, Jaguars or Austins; at the German Embassy, Mercedes, BMWs or Volkswagens; at the French Embassy, Citroens or Renaults.
But at the U.S. embassies in Europe, virtually no American cars were in evidence. Most people drove European makes. I understand the appeal of European cars. However, when American officials represent the U.S. and are paid well and given generous allowances for living abroad, it should be incumbent on them to hold up the flag by driving an American product.
All other nationalities promote their own country's products. Shouldn't we?