Death-row inmate sets an example for others

Without disregarding the pain that victims' families live with, your Nov. 28 article "On death row, an author and Nobel nominee" offers a tangible, positive example of how some people can genuinely learn from their mistakes and make a difference in the lives of youths.

By teaching children not to act as he did and establishing programs to engage them in positive activities, regardless of what he did 19 years ago, Stanley Williams is doing more to try to deter destructive behavior than some politicians have ever done.

This should be an example of what the correctional and juvenile systems should be doing to transform and improve the lives of people.

Eva Scates-Winston St. Paul, Minn.

'Celldrones' should keep their distance

Regarding Larry McCoy's Nov. 27 opinion piece "Celldrones, beware!": The proliferation of cellphones and the fact that no one can look forward to a quiet, meditative moment on the train and in public spaces anymore is sad, and also infuriating.

Today, in our techno-nuts, me-me society, we are seeing the results of a trend toward basic rudeness and complete lack of civility that has escalated to an incomprehensible level. Hey! It's just plain inconsiderate to yap on a cellphone in a public place! Mr. McCoy suggests standing up and reading aloud to fight back - an amusing suggestion, but I think writing to Amtrak to demand a strict, blanket rule of No Cellphone Use on Trains Period (unless in dire emergency) would be more to the point.

Or, another idea: How about a separate car for cellphone addicts (a modern version of the old smokers' car)?

Obnoxious whining, giggling, and babbling pollutes the environment every bit as much as cigarette smoke!

Judith Kay Ardentown, Del.

Small chance of a fresh look in D.C.

Godfrey Sperling's Nov. 28 column, "This election was about values," suggests that voters support George W. Bush because of a desire "to bring about a fresh look in the presidency." Mr. Bush's vice-presidential running mate is Dick Cheney, his father's secretary of Defense. Bush's spokesman in Florida is Jim Baker, his father's secretary of State. Bush has selected Andrew Card, his father's secretary of Transportation, as his chief of staff.If American voters are looking for a new tone in Washington, neither candidate will provide it.

Chris Colvin San Francisco

Oppression by Israel

At long last it is heartening to have words on the oppression that Palestinians have had to endure for so long, especially coming from Richard C. Hottelet, a longtime observer of the situation in the West Bank and Gaza ("Heading toward apartheid in Israel," Nov. 28).

The press rarely mentions the sources of oppression. As the opinion piece explains, "Having the Palestinian land and its people, the Israelis created a stable scene on the old pattern of colonial mercantilism." People need to know how to stop the killing and bring about peace with justice.

Mr. Hottelet's article ought to be required reading to inform the American taxpayers of the types of activities they are supporting.

Evelyn Menconi Dorchester, Mass.

The Electoral College unraveled

Three cheers for John Gould. His Nov. 24 column, "As goes Maine, so should go the Union," did a better and more complete job of explaining the why and how of the Electoral College than anything else I have read.

Barbara Tolman Scarborough, Maine

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