In response to Paul Rogat Loeb's "A thousand points of hype" (April 25): Volunteerism is noble, but its good doesn't begin to solve the hunger, homelessness, unemployment, and despair that affect too many in America. Like his father's "thousand points of light" program of the early 1990s, Mr. Bush's thousand points of hype for volunteerism are a poor excuse for needed social-justice programs that only government can provide.
Many Americans do not have needed health insurance. Can volunteerism meet that vital need? More and more of our citizens and cities are at risk. President Bush must not play politics with his tax cuts for the rich while life-and-death issues affecting much of our citizenry are left to the goodness of well-meaning volunteers.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr. Louisville, Ky.
Mr. Loeb argues that volunteerism is many times only a Band-Aid, and that we must go "upstream" to the "broken bridge" to solve the problem. He seems to be suggesting that the bridge repair crew be sourced out of the federal government. I could not disagree more. I have no problem loosening my own purse strings to help out the needy, but I do have a problem sending the money to Washington D.C., where it is likely to be squandered.
David Roos Littleton, Colo.
Dinesh D'Souza's April 26 opinion piece "In Praise of American Empire" trivializes US influence overseas. He writes: "People may be wrong to want the American lifestyle, and may not foresee its disadvantages, but at least they are seeking it voluntarily." This type of thinking doesn't consider the enormous impact that the sale of American goods has on the world.
Many of the goods we are exporting icons such as McDonalds and Coca-Cola add desire and status in societies that don't have the infrastructure to support buying these goods. Also, their influx eradicates the local economic, cultural, and social structure of those societies. The claim that American lifestyle is being sought "voluntarily," when such strong messages are inundating foreign cultures through media, doesn't hold up.
Treanna Clinton Elsah, Ill.
Regarding your April 26 article "No sex, no lies, but a lot of 'clean' videotape": The people who oppose this are intellectually disingenuous. It is not censorship. After all, there are far more numerous outlets where people have access to, and can obtain, the video versions [of films] replete with the profanity, sex, violence, and other objectionable items. So, there is a free, competitive market where consumers can choose such films.
What the opponents can't stomach is: (1) there is a significant consumer market that does not approve of or want the huckster-profane versions, and (2) the fact of that market is, of course, implicitly a criticism of the no-holds-barred viewpoint.
Russ LaPeer Ocala, Fla.
Who cares about "The Godfather" and Hannibal Lecter? The real tragedy is that important educational flicks like "Schindler's List," "Topsy-Turvy" and the new "Amadeus" remake are not fit for children. No offense to Mr. Friedman and the "artists" he defends, but I could pick quite a few titles that I would rather rent from Mr. Doshier's store.
Jim Ray Bellevue, Wash.
What a country! No one complains when a movie is edited and cut for TV so that commercials can be added. Why, then, the fuss when they are edited for taste? Hypocrisy is what I call it.
Thomas Krala Morganville, N.J.
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