How CNN and Japan Take Responsibility

This is in reference to the opinion piece "Taking Responsibility: Japan Puts Americans to Shame" (July 15) about whether Americans or Japanese are better able to take responsibility for their actions. I was astounded by the conclusions. I do not dispute that the average American possesses a startling aptitude for avoiding responsibility. Yet the suggestion that certain folks at CNN should have resigned, just as Japanese Prime Minister Hashimoto did, to show they know how to stop "passing the buck" shows an ignorance begging correction.

In reality, Mr. Hashimoto passed on the opportunity to make right what he and the LDP so patently have made wrong over the past few months. The Japanese government was finally beginning to act decisively to correct the ailing economy. It is much more unlikely it will happen now. Hashimoto's action was the product of a desire to save face, and avoid responsibility, as opposed to taking it. Contrary to this, Mr. Kaplan and company at CNN have decided to stay and try to make things right.

However, the most important point is that the Japanese people refuse to accept the truth about their own history. Acts of brutal savagery before and during World War II against other Asians, particularly women, are documented facts, not conjecture. Yet the Japanese have never apologized, and many refuse to believe these things even happened, even in the face of concrete proof.

Yes, Americans are inept at taking personal responsibility for things that go wrong, but evidence suggests the Japanese are far worse.

Peter H. Gantz

Alpharetta, Ga.

The importance of women's votes

Regarding "Key Swing Vote in 1998: Women" (July 14), in addition to being the key swing vote for Democrats in this fall's elections, the women's vote is crucial to electing more female candidates to the US Congress and state legislatures.

In races for the Senate, Democratic incumbents such as Sens. Patty Murray of Washington, Barbara Boxer of California, and Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois will probably need the women's vote to get reelected, as will Geraldine Ferraro, if she gets the nomination to run in New York.

In the House, there are fewer than normal open seats for women to run for, but with the strong support of female voters, women could net a handful of new seats to add to their current total of 54.

And if the Republican Party really wishes to appeal to the female vote, as Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R) of Washington suggests, they will have to be more tolerant of women's views on reproductive choice, gun controls, child care, the environment, and healthcare.

George Dean

Edgartown, Mass.

How to dry a basement

In reference to the Resident Experts column in the HomeFront section, "Cures for dish film and damp apartments" (July 1), here is an alternative solution to dry up a basement.

There are four main steps:

1. Place a tile drain around your house and run it to a proper outlet. 2. Shape the landscape so surface water runs away from your house. 3. Place a 10-mill. plastic sheet on your basement floor and cover with one inch of concrete or similar flooring material. Be careful not to puncture the plastic sheet. 4. Spray styrofoam insulation on the basement walls. Since styrofoam will burn, it is best to cover it with a fire-resistant material.

I used to have 12 inches of water in my basement after a rain storm. Now, the basement and the entire house are dry. And the basement is the warmest room in the house in the winter and coolest in the summer.

Dwight D. Michener

Waynesville, Ohio

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