HEALTH CARE AT SPRING HILL
San Antonio, TX
Re "Spring Hill: Another Utopia Bites the Dust" [posted Dec. 7]: I want to thank Nicholas von Hoffman for at least mentioning the detrimental effect that our lack of a national health care system has had on industry in the United States. Many Americans are now aware that the high cost of healthcare benefits is a factor in the difficulties facing our domestic auto industry, but most Americans imagine that the UAW has forced GM and Ford to provide healthcare that is superior to the healthcare available to Japanese workers at Toyota or German workers at BMW.
What is the truth about this? Are American workers at GM plants actually receiving better healthcare than the German workers at BMW, or is GM paying a higher cost due to the lack of a national health care plan? I would like to see more analysis of this topic.
REX EDWIN ROBARDS
THE NEWS WE LOSE
Nicholas von Hoffman's "Anybody Want to Buy a Newspaper?" [posted Dec. 2], about the health and probable future of this country's newspapers, is so very sad, yet so very true. Notice no reference here to the newspaper business." Not much illness there. But "healthy" isn't a robust enough condition as far as some greedy and shortsighted stockholders are concerned.
It's a sad situation that persons of all political and ideological stripes should lament. Conservatives may have the most to lose; they already gripe mightily about how the few large, influential, and liberal papers set the national agenda. Those are the papers more likely to survive and maintain their quality. So many smaller, less-influential and often more conservative publications will certainly lose staff, which brings lower quality, fewer readers and less influence on the national agenda.
And for the nightmarish idea that broadcast of any form can easily take print journalism's place, well, I like my share of Sloppy Joe's made from leftovers, but I'd rather sink my teeth into a well-seasoned steak.
THE TRUTH BEHIND DELGADO'S PLEDGE
The stretched comparison between Roberto Clemente's actions and identification with the poor is longer than any seventh-inning stretch in "The Silencing of Carlos Delgado" [posted Dec. 7]. Roberto Clemente would be totally embarrassed by Carlos Delgado's action.
Besides, I would like you to look into the real silencing of Hispanics who do not go along with the political expectations in universities across the US. Carlos's actions are not political. They are simply dumb and senseless. Even a strong Puerto Rican nationalist like Albizu Campos was against being disrespectful of even the patriotic symbols of the nation he saw as the oppressor.
JOSE A. AMOROS
Valley Center, CA
I think Dave Zirin is definitely off base in his article on Carlos Delgado's "silencing." I didn't see anything that indicated the ball player was not free to express any view or take any action while off the playing field. Were that his crime I would support him wholeheartedly.
However, his actions during a ball game is inappropriate and distracting to the game and I see no problem with management restricting him. Worse, his refusing to stand during "God Bless America" can be effectively used by the right wing to change the subject again.
The meaning of his "act of resistance" is not clear to the casual observer and can be misconstrued or distorted to mean Delgado hates America. The debate will not be about valid opposition to a bad war but about "Americanism" and the loyalty of those who are against the war. Delgado and his supporters simply play into the hands of the right.
The peace movement and the Democratic Party will suffer the fallout; Bush's approval numbers rise, anti-war candidates lose, the GOP remains in power and the dying continues. Come on, why can't we be smart in our opposition by loving America, standing up for her song while voicing our opinions in other strong and effective ways? Do we want this war to end or not?
Three cheers for Carlos Delgado for having the courage to speak out in the first place, even if he has since been brow-beaten by his "owners."
Before the war here in Los Angeles, a city of 8 million, we could not find more than 100 or so people to perform acts of civil disobedience to stop the mad rush to the Iraq invasion. This, despite the minimal consequences to a first-time "offender" (almost everyone got off with a mere infraction, no fines, and no punishment). When it came down to it, very few people were willing to take the time off from work in order to participate.
I do not begrudge anyone for this or any other life decision, because it is their personal political choice to make. But at the same time, just as I applaud loudly for Delgado, I hang my head in shame as a 'member of the left' at our virtual collective abandonment of almost anyone like him who goes out on a limb and risks far more than the rest of us do for the cause of peace and justice. My apologies for your critics, Carlos. Almost all of us would have done the exact same thing.
BARBARA E. JOHNS
Oyster Bay, NY
Thank you for citing my Newsday column in your Delgado story, but I must point out that before you laud Delgado for his "touching'' tribute to Clemente, you should know that at the same news conference, Delgado admitted that his first choice of number was 25.
Unfortunately, that was already the property of the immortal Kazuo Matsui, so Delgado, man of convictions, settled for 21.
TARGETING AL JAZEERA
Re "Did Bush Really Want to Bomb Al Jazeera?" [posted Nov. 23]: Any person with no short memory span will have to admit that the allegation is far from "outlandish" (as the White House spokesperson famously put it).
We did bomb the Belgrade National Television on April 23, 1999, and called that station a "legitimate target." To be frank, let's stop describing as "outlandish" actions clearly driven by the new "pagan ethos" policies (from Robert Kaplan's Warrior Politics) in the conduct of our recent attacks on other nations, justified by what some voices at the top continue to call our "moral clarity."
CHEERS FOR SCHEER
Los Angeles, CA
Thank goodness I can still read Robert Scheer's insightful column here in The Nation.com (and I am a print subscriber) after the LA Times saw fit to dump him. I am still at a loss to understand the actions of the Times (or the LA Dog Trainer, as Harry Shearer likes to call it).
Please pass along to cheer my sincere regards for the high standard of his work. He has been one of very few voices of reason over the last five dark and stormy years. Thank you, Robert Scheer!
Long Beach, CA
We wanted to thank you and congratulate you for capitalizing on the LA Times's mistake of letting Robert Scheer go! We have cancelled our subscription to that paper because of that specific right-wing action that they took--firing the best liberal writer the paper had! We are disgusted that our LA Times has been hijacked by Republicans.