Climate change and Arizona’s wildfires; an immigration saga; Weinergate
Playing with fire
Re “Threat grows from Arizona inferno,” June 9
It was more than 100 degrees in Minnesota this week. The East Coast was bruised by one of the most bitter winters on record and is now in the midst of an unprecedented heat wave as it struggles to recover from a tornado in Massachusetts.
Weather anomalies such as massive flooding along the Mississippi River, major tornado outbreaks in Alabama and Missouri, and forest and grassfires in Texas and Arizona are just a few indicators that global climate change is happening right now. So what are we doing about it? Nothing.
Wake up and smell the coffee, America. There is big money to be made in developing alternatives to oil; just look at the cutting-edge technologies coming out of China. Let’s join the innovators before they leave us in the dust.
Janis Hansen Klinger
Divided over immigration case
Re “Should a border divide a family?,” June 5
The border has less to do with dividing the family than does the individual’s conduct. Thus I had mixed emotions when I read the outcome of the Guzman case.
I had heartfelt compassion for the child who will now regain his father, who faced deportation to Guatemala. Yet at the same time I was disappointed at a judicial system that looks at a rap sheet of unlawful behavior, including illegal residence, vehicular hit-and-run, theft, property destruction, drug convictions and tax evasion, and somehow appears to agree with the defendant that it is just hooliganism.
I was glad to see a reasonable judge exercise discretion. But many individuals under threat of deportation do not have significant arrest records.
A 1996 law created immigration consequences retroactively for people who had been lawfully in the U.S. for decades. People have been deported for isolated offenses that occurred decades earlier and that did not cause an immigration problem at that time.
Under the law, a crime such as shoplifting a pack of batteries is classified as an “aggravated felony.” Something that is normally classified as a misdemeanor or even an infraction can be called an “aggravated felony” under the immigration code.
For immigration purposes, juvenile records or any other records cannot be expunged no matter how rehabilitated you are, so the consequences are truly draconian. The deportation provision is mandatory, and judges cannot use discretion.
I am glad it was a happy ending for the Guzmans. The moral of the story? Do not break the law, including immigration law.
What to do with Weiner
Re “Weiner’s fate,” Editorial, June 8
I am deeply disappointed in your stance on Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y). By giving him a pass even after he lied for days, you appear to support a double-standard for Republicans and Democrats.
Former Republican Rep. Christopher Lee resigned and apologized when a similar indiscretion came to light, an honorable act after dishonorable behavior. But your statement, “The difference between Lee and Weiner seems more about politics than ethics,” belies your own ethical blindness to a comparable situation for a Democrat.
I’m a card-carrying Democrat, but I do not make excuses for congressional misconduct. Weiner should resign and disappear from view. And you should review your complacency in excusing this “perverse Internet troll” from the consequences of his behavior.
Emery J. Cummins
Is it my imagination, or is there a double-standard when it comes to judging the values of Republicans and Democrats? Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has demonstrated his moral reprehensibility, yet his past actions are barley mentioned. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) served out his term of office. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is still serving in Congress.
My advice to Weiner: Don’t let the pundits make your decision for you. Let the people of your district decide if they want you to represent them.
Here’s a hint for men: Show us your integrity, strength, goodness, courage, conviction and willingness to stand up for righteous principles. Think “Braveheart.” This is the way you attract women.
Showing us your private parts? You must be kidding.
Jan Taylor Riley
Focus on jobs
Re “Economy is rough road for Obama,” June 4
Your article points out that the unemployment rate will have much to do with President Obama’s chance for reelection. But what about Republicans? After all, they campaigned on “jobs, jobs, jobs.” But so far they have directed their attention to abortion, the deficit and crippling Medicare.
Now they are threatening to not raise the debt ceiling, which would greatly damage the country’s credit rating and certainly raise unemployment.
The Republicans want power, and they have demonstrated that they do not care if this pursuit hurts the middle class. They need to be told that high unemployment will hurt them in the next election.
Re “Anti-terrorism tech effort falters,” June 5
The Times implies that the Department of Homeland Security has been slow to process and
approve Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act applications and has not adequately promoted the program among our private sector partners. The opposite is true.
The act ensures that legal liability concerns do not stop critical private sector investments in innovative technologies and guarantees that these technologies work as advertised. Since the act’s first applications were received in 2004, Homeland Security has approved more than 440 qualified anti-terrorism technologies. Applications have more than doubled in the last five years, yet our processing times have declined more than a third.
Homeland Security is continually adapting in the face of evolving terrorism threats, and we collaborate with the private sector every step of the way. We look forward to future engagement with these key partners.
The writer is undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.
Re “Tackling the truth in Compton,” Opinion, June 6
The residents of Compton who oppose the leadership of newly appointed Compton Community College trustee Genethia Hudley-Hayes are not obstreperous ingrates who resent the takeover of the college by a “white school,” El Camino Community College.
We are instead conscientious Americans demanding that the accreditation of Compton Community College be restored through the efforts of qualified leaders with appropriate community input.
Santa Monica Community College had served as a partner with Compton. We welcomed this relationship, which was characterized by mutual respect. El Camino, on the other hand, has adopted the role of overseer, not partner.
Neither the trustee nor interim chief executive had any prior experience running a college, which is an insult to our community. By contrast, the top two leaders at El Camino have a combined experience of over 40 years as college administrators.
F. Marie Hollis
The writer is president of the Committee to Save the Compton Community College District.
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