The conditions in Honduras today; Yale’s fraternity ruckus; wind farms and wildlife
A harsher Honduras
Noah Feldman, David Landau and Brian Sheppard speak of the relative calm during the last two years in Honduras. Last March, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed concern about “the disproportionate use of force to quell public demonstrations against the policies of the current government, the lack of an independent judiciary and the situation of human rights defenders.”
Nonviolent protests are often met by excessive police force. Farmers experience violence and forced evictions. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that 11 journalists have been killed since March 2010. According to Human Rights Watch, there have been no convictions for this brutality since the Lobo government came to power in January 2010.
The authors would do well to talk to people on the streets in Honduras to learn about their reality.
What about Yale’s women?
Charlotte Allen might feel quite different if she were, like me, the mother of a daughter attending Yale. I am stunned by Allen’s callous dismissal of the outrage of women upon hearing a large group of men shout “No means yes, and yes means anal,” words that are rightfully understood to be a promise of potential date rape.
Allen reacts to Yale’s punishment of this rogue group as if universities and the president of the United States are attempting to eliminate all college fraternities. This is not the issue here. The issue is creating a hostile environment for others.
My fear for Allen is that if she ever sends a daughter to her husband’s alma mater, she will rue the day she championed an environment that is hostile to her daughter. Yale is just doing its job.
I agree with Allen that quashing freedom of speech, even when it’s “no means yes, and yes means anal,” is a very problematic answer to aggressive sexual taunts. But isn’t there a way to use shame instead of force?
How about protesters with banners that read “Do you have sisters?” or “When you have a daughter, is ‘no means yes’ OK?” I can’t believe Yale students are beyond shame.
I was going to say, “Sure, let frats continue to exercise their freedom of speech, and then let the post-college job market react to their misogyny,” but then I remembered: Sexism is even more ingrained in the workplace.
Standing by while fraternity brothers yell overtly sexist epithets and throw parties aimed at coercing women into having sex is not going to root sexism out of our society. These men do have the right to free speech, but private universities have the right to end Greek life on their campuses and remove any indirect approval of its nefarious activities.
I applaud any efforts to do so quickly.
Allen once again denigrates women. This is the same commentator who declared in a 2008 Washington Post piece, “Several of the supposed misogynist myths about female inferiority have been proven true,” and then concluded that women are “kind of dim.”
No surprise, then, that she gives a pass to men who engage in offensive and inherently harmful behavior and instead points her finger at women who object to chants that encourage rape. To Allen, these rape taunts are merely “silly or boorish.”
I do agree with Allen that the fraternity didn’t deserve to be suspended; it should have been banned permanently.
Being careful about Iran
The authors ponder what “threat to peace” Iran poses, question the U.S. call for Iran to cease enriching uranium and refer obliquely to Iran’s “ill-will.”
The United Nations Security Council in 2006, in adopting the resolution the authors discuss, noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency had for more than three years been “unable to make progress in its efforts to provide assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.” The U.S. and others, in also demanding that Iran cease its nuclear program, have responded to Iran’s calls to wipe Israel off the map.
The authors give short shrift to Iran’s history of duplicity and evasion, its obstruction of neutral international fact-finders and its alarming statements about its intentions.
Amy N. Lipton
I find it interesting that such esteemed authors and former ambassadors to Iran could write an article arguing for the West to “take a fresh look at negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program” without mentioning the nuclear weapons Israel possesses and refuses to have investigated by the IAEA.
Why bother to write such an article if it leaves Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal out of the conversation?
Charlene A. Richards
In the air
Readers may be left with the misimpression that modern wind turbines threaten golden eagle populations. They do not. Nationwide, wind turbines account for less than 1% of golden eagle deaths from human causes.
California’s Altamont Pass is an anomaly among wind farms, with a rate of eagle deaths far higher than any other wind facility due to several unique circumstances. The wind industry has learned a great deal from that experience.
Today, wind developers routinely conduct detailed wildlife site evaluations, siting turbines carefully to minimize impacts. As a result, a very tiny fraction of human-caused bird deaths nationwide result from wind turbine collisions. Meanwhile, nearly 30% of all species on Earth may become extinct due to climate change within the next 50 years.
While the wind industry strives to minimize conflict with birds, we need to keep this larger perspective in mind.
The writer is executive director of the California Wind Energy Assn.
Irony in print
If there is a Pulitzer Prize for “most irony in a single news story,” the award would have to go to The Times for its story about L.A. County Deputy Dist. Atty. Juliet Schmidt. In a conflict-of-interest case, Schmidt contacted one of the parties — a private law firm — about a job for her newly minted lawyer nephew because he wants to work in the law firm’s area of specialization: malpractice litigation.
The kicker? Schmidt works in the district attorney’s Public Integrity Division. You can’t make this stuff up.
If a picture says a thousand words, then the two photos with this article speak a million sentences. One shows L.A. County sheriff’s deputies at a door with their hands on their guns; the other shows two deputies with guns in their hands, peering over a fence.
Just what are they expecting to find in Section 8 housing? A Mexican drug cartel?
I knew many people in Section 8 housing, and most were women and children. They were poor and were constantly afraid of losing their Section 8 vouchers. They were the weakest and the most vulnerable of our society.
Why are the deputies going after them with guns drawn? What will they do if they see someone living there illegally? Shoot them? It brings to mind the phrase “Pick on someone your own size.”
A cure for the common opinion
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