Web Letters | The Nation


Why Are Black Students Facing Corporal Punishment in Public Schools?

Black children in thirty-one states are no long paddled in schools disproportionately. They were paddled in much larger numbers in those states before it was banned. It is time to ban it in all of the states. Prominent national black leaders have signed a proclamation calling for an immediate ban on paddling’s use in public schools. See the proclamation and signatories on the website for the Center for Effective Discipline. The question of this inequity, some of its history and how the it is changing is discussed in my new book, Breaking the Paddle: Ending School Corporal Punishment. States that have banned corporal punishment usually have higher academic outcomes, less school violence and fewer behavior problems. More than 100 countries have agreed and ban the barbaric practice.

Nadine Block

Columbus OH

Apr 14 2014 - 2:12pm

The Perfect Lobby: How One Industry Captured Washington, DC

Halperin’s piece regarding the for-profit sector is spot on, and I’m glad to see it. There is one point, however, that is simply wrong and I was disappointed to see him make it: that the “new and improved” gainful employment legislation recently proposed will help.

The first gainful employment rule was lobbied into soft oatmeal, and was absolute mush by the time it made it through the legislative/administrative/judicial process. This issue sucked all the air out of the room for over a year, yet the problem is as bad or worse than it has ever been.

To posit that the same thing won’t happen again is, frankly not believable. As long as the Department of Education’s fiscal motivations are aligned against the student (the department makes money on defaults, and in fact was(and perhaps still is) making more on defaults than healthy loans), it is not realistic to expect a significantly better outcome the next time around.

Let’s return bankruptcy protections, and get the motivations fixed before doing anything else, can we please? We can’t waste another year or more for nothing.

One side note: David hopefully will be shocked to know that Devry is a corporate donor of the Center for American Progress (along with the Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Wells Fargo, and WalMart!). CAP’s higher ed policy is being led by a longtime Dept. of Ed lending guy, and an “Alexander Hamilton” fellow from the Federal Reserve Bank. They recently came out clearly against returning bankruptcy protections to the people as well.

It’s not just the for-profit colleges we need to be looking at, I think.

Alan Collinge

Washington State

Apr 3 2014 - 4:06pm

Why the Media Are Giving a Free Pass to Venezuela’s Neo-Fascist Creeps

In the rules expressed here, it specifically warned against using inflammatory terms like “fascist” in expressing our views. But that did not stop the interviewer from repeating Mr. Britto’s slur describing the young demonstrators. Double standard? This article is inaccurate in so many ways. Venezuela, a country that made independent media illegal, threw in jail a judge because it did not agree with her ruling and that has made many other political arrests—a free country? This whole article was purely and simply another paid propaganda piece. How sad how some sell themselves, at the expense of their fellow citizens.

Esteban Bart


Apr 2 2014 - 9:29pm

Cold War Again: Who’s Responsible?

Mr. Cohen provided an interesting piece, but there are several points that require clarification, as they are sufficiently important to alter the perception of the crisis.

First, ethnic Russians do not make up the majority of the population of eastern Ukraine. The average is about 40 percent, though in some provinces it is in excess of 50 percent.

Second, the ethnic Russians are not monolithic advocates of a return to Mother Russia. Quite the contrary, a significant percentage, especially among the young, look to the EU and the West for a better life with more high-paying jobs. And while almost all the ethnic Russians do want to preserve their language, culture and religion, they consider themselves to be Ukrainians with no desire for the stagnation of being part of Russia. So Russian occupation would be widely viewed as a conquest, not a liberation.

Third, Yanukovych and the Party of Regions ran in 2010 on a platform including a plank promising to ‘seal the deal’ with the EU. This should not be downplayed. Thus, his ‘about face’ was condemned across the country as a betrayal of the national will; more so in western Ukraine, where he was loathed for his corrupt effort to steal the 2004 election which led to the Orange Revolution, and where he was regarded as Putin’s creature, which turned out to be quite correct.

Fourth, Russia is and will continue to be Ukraine’s largest trading partner. Ukraine is almost totally dependent upon Russia for gas and petroleum products. If the country survives Putin’s imperialism, it will be years before its own resources are developed. Thus, peaceful relations with Russia are required for national survival.

And fifth, the West must prove that it has learned something from history, especially 1938-9. And Ukraine/Crimea is the place to start. If the West is not willing to protect a relatively new democracy that looks to the EU and USA for support and protection, then tyranny is on the march, again. A far better analysis would be the cost of doing to little now versus what we must pay later.

Kent R Crawford, PhD


Apr 2 2014 - 1:34pm

From Visionary to the Fringe

Oh! How I love that Veli man! Now I had better read the article, to find out what I really ought to think about him.

Ted Schrey


Mar 31 2014 - 9:17am

Why Is a Florida Man Facing Life in Prison For Lending a Friend His Car and Going to Sleep?

I know I am only one voice of millions, but I read your article and wish there was a way to help him out. If somehow a petition could be passed. You should put a link to some website that voice out for Ryan Holle. I would love to take part in that.

Naveed Shaiwayana

United States

Mar 30 2014 - 12:46am

Why Is a Florida Man Facing Life in Prison For Lending a Friend His Car and Going to Sleep?

I’m curious why the author of the following article “Why Is a Florida Man Facing Life in Prison For Lending a Friend His Car and Going to Sleep?” that starts with “Ryan Holle, who has no prior record, is currently serving his eleventh year of a life sentence.” does not start a Change.org petition to get Ryan Holle out of prison? I’m sure many people would sign this and maybe the petition or another petition could be started to end this law that the article speaks of. Please forward this to the author of the article, Charles Grodin. Thank you. Benjamin



Mar 29 2014 - 11:34pm

How Bill de Blasio Is Being Framed

off with her head!

Asher Fried

Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Mar 28 2014 - 1:30pm

Why Is a Florida Man Facing Life in Prison For Lending a Friend His Car and Going to Sleep?

I am currently confined to a bed after being struck by a car, but as soon as I get out and well enough to assist in however I can… I will. This is so sad, to think this could have been my son is infuriating. God bless you and all that you are doing for this young man.

Milagros Perez

United States

Mar 25 2014 - 9:40pm

How to Avert a New Cold War Over Crimea

“For this to happen, Washington and Moscow must recognize that the other side has legitimate grievances and interests.” I find very obvious Russia’s “grievances and interests,” but not Washington’s, especially as Ukraine is rather distant from the US and borders Russia. I think the United States wants to expand its economic imperialism; not legitimate, in my opinion.

Bernard Cleyet

Salinas, CA

Mar 25 2014 - 3:00pm