Oh, those loopy
Richard N. Bond needs to get his head out of the sand and face both reality and
history ["Supreme Court will be Bush's legacy," Opinion, Oct. 5]. He equates
"loopy liberals" with Democrats, although the policies he seems to abhor - big
government, regulation of business, raising taxes to pay for these programs -
began with the Progressive Republicans of the early 20th century.
He attacks the Democrats for rejecting judicial appointees because of their
ideology. What about the scores of Bill Clinton appointees never approved by a
Republican Senate? What about President George W. Bush's desire to remake the
ideology? What about Harriet Miers, the president's newest appointment, facing
conservatives' attacks because of her unproven ideology?
And Bond seems to ignore conservative justices' readiness to ignore ideology
for political purposes, as in disregarding federalism to hand George W. Bush
the 2000 election.
I guess Bond is one of those "loopy conservatives" who are against government
inspection of food, consumer protection, health insurance.
Put the racers
on the right track
Regarding "Night riders" [News, Oct. 6]: Maybe the auto makers and the
television networks could work together and not promote ads that impress our
younger generation by how fast a model or a particular make of car can go from
zero to 60 mph. In a sense, they are selling speed. As we know, speed kills.
Tobacco ads have been taken off TV. I'm not saying auto ads should be banned,
but some discretion should be used.
As an ex-street racer, I know the dangers and consequences of this lifestyle.
These illegal races won't stop due to fines, confiscation of cars and/or jail
race track is needed. NIMBY people need to evaluate if noise pollution and
added traffic are that bad compared to a traffic tragedy.
If given a legal and safer area to race, illegal street racers will not have an
excuse to street race/drag race in public streets. Adding a local race track
and imposing harsher penalties for illegal street racing will inevitably go a
long way in providing a solution.
According to "LIPA set to boost fuel surcharge" [News, Sept. 30], the Long
Island Power Authority needs to collect a year's worth of surcharge in the
remaining three months of the year to end 2005 with balanced books. That means
the effective rate of the surcharge in the three remaining bills will be 54.2
percent of the base bill - and LIPA is discriminating against homeowners with
electric heat and those using electric heaters in homes and businesses having
under-powered space heating systems.
It also discriminates against homeowners who may want to save oil and gas by
turning down the thermostat, then use electric space heaters to heat a baby's
bedroom, for example.
To be fair, LIPA should spread the cost over the last six moths of this year,
retroactive to July 8 - not effective Oct. 8, as Newsday reported. Since LIPA
is a summer-peaking utility, the surcharge would be lower, hence far less
Carmine F. Vasile
In their rush, once again, to become first in the nation with a restrictive
mandate, Suffolk County legislators gullibly swallowed union propaganda and
labeled an anti-Wal-Mart action as a heath bill ["Suffolk health bill is
unfriendly to business," Opinion, Oct. 3]. Legis. Allan Binder (R-Huntington)
deserves kudos for being the only Suffolk County legislator to oppose this
anti-business and anti-consumer action.
Activists want Wal-Mart to be the standard bearer for higher wages because it
is the largest employer. We should not repeat mistakes that caused major
companies, such as U.S. Steel and General Motors, to falter. If Wal-Mart paid
workers less than other major retail chains and local retailers, employees
would leave Wal-Mart to go elsewhere. In fact, workers line up for jobs at
Wal-Mart. Retailers pay low wages. Don't vilify Wal-Mart for being more
productive than its peers. Suffolk County should not
make it more difficult for residents to find work while preventing shoppers
from obtaining savings on their purchases.
Remember all our immigrants
Newsday's Q & A with Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy was both revealing
and alarming ["In a sit-down, Levy has his say," Newsday.com, Oct. 4]. Levy's
blanket dismissal, negative characterizations and name-calling of the many
human rights groups, labor unions and community-based organizations working to
defend immigrants' basic human and labor rights is insulting.
Our current immigration system is undeniably broken and most elected
officials, as well as the general public, recognize the need for immediate,
comprehensive and nationwide immigration reform. Over the past year, Levy's
targeting of Latino immigrants has become a major cause of concern and has made
Levy and Long Island a perfect example of the ongoing struggle America has
with new immigrants. We need and want their labor but don't want them as our
neighbors once their work is done.
This approach to new immigrants is racist and unproductive. Long Island
needs leadership that brings residents and new immigrants together around a
mutually beneficial agenda including access to affordable housing, better
schools and enhanced labor protections for all workers. Long Island does not
need anti-immigrant and anti-Latino policies cloaked in a false security
blanket claiming to protect our neighborhoods or the "suburban lifestyle."
Just like the rest of our nation, Long Island was built by and continues to
flourish because of immigrants. Today, new immigrants happen to be more brown
than white. But their goals and dreams are the same as those immigrants who
came here from Italy, Ireland or Germany - a better life for themselves and
Editor's note: The writer is executive director of the New York Civic
Participation Project & La Fuente Inc.
"Vow to break camp" [News, Sept. 30] says in part: "The day laborers say
they are living there because they have no place else to go."
Hmmmm. Does "back across the U.S.-Mexico border" come to mind? Just
No doubts about 9/11 responsibility
Imam Intikab Habib seems to forget we are losing American troops (almost
2,000 casualties now) fighting for his religious freedom ["Chaplain doubts 9/11
story" News, Sept. 30]. His apologies are meaningless. The fact that he was
even considered by the Fire Department of New York to be one of their chaplains
is beyond belief.
James D. McNaughton
Make vaccines widely available
I just read "Killer could have been stopped" [News, Oct. 5] about the
spread of encephalitis in India and was truly angered at the response of the
Indian government. How can it not work harder to vaccinate children against a
known killer? People should urge their elected officials in Washington to
pressure the United Nations to distribute this vaccine to the world's poorest
areas to make sure this does not happen again. Children should not be dying
when a vaccine is available.
Bush's heart may be good, but it's not good enough
President George W. Bush told us early in his administration that he spoke
directly to his "higher father" rather than his biological one on matters of
state. Later, he looked into Vladimir Putin's eyes and said that he recognized
a kindred spirit. Now he stands before the public once again to assert that
Harriet Miers is "one of us" ["Bush: She's one of us," News, Oct. 5]. He tells
us: "I know her heart." And "I know her well enough to be able to say that
she's not going to change; that 20 years from now she'll be the same person,
with the same philosophy, that she is today."
When will we say enough to these kinds of personally based assertions being
substituted for rational, fact-based choices that affect how our government
operates? If peering into Putin's eyes can show how his foreign policy
interests will impact upon our own, let's patent the process. And if the mere
assertion of what an old pal, confidante and lawyer is going to do in an
entirely new setting as associate justice of the Supreme Court is sufficient to
sway the Senate into confirming her, then it is time to rid ourselves of them
The people we need to be statesmen, justices and policy makers must have
factual, actual histories sufficient for us to examine, discuss and acknowledge
as the appropriate kinds of life experiences the state requires to assure the
degree of competence representing the people in whatever respective roles
requires. We do not need a reading of tea leaves to foretell the future.