Campaign financing and Kerry's creative approach
Regarding your May 24 editorial "Kerry, The Non-Nominee?" which discourages John Kerry from delaying accepting his party's nomination until after the Democratic Convention: You're wrong.
First, you suggest that it would be a slap in the face to Bostonians and convention organizers to make the Democratic convention nothing more than a "political pep rally." But conventions have been political pep rallies for decades, and the last one with any drama was the Chicago convention in 1968.
We've gotten used to the fact that they are just partisan extravaganzas. Second, you suggest, taking a line straight from the Bush campaign, that "Kerry is trying to get around rules he doesn't like." No, he is considering legal options around a rule that was never intended to be as blatantly unfair as the GOP is trying to make it.
It would be ludicrous for Mr. Kerry and the Democrats to tie their hands behind their backs and let President Bush hammer Kerry with expensive attack ads for five extra weeks. The campaign-finance system is unfair, as you correctly point out, but for this election at least, it's only natural that Democrats would seek a level playing field.
With the average voter's deep concern about the power of special-interest money and its influence on those we send to Washington, I would suggest that we, the voters, cast our ballot for the candidates who have the least. After all, aren't they the ones who are least "sold out"? Any candidate who wins with less money can thumb his nose at the special interests who come looking for special favors.
Alexander F. Livingstone
Your May 20 editorial "Moral Courage at Abu Ghraib" eloquently captures the moral dimensions of the prison abuse scandal. But there's a glaring shortfall of this debacle that must be addressed as the military resolves what crimes have occurred. It's disturbing to see whom the Army has chosen to court-martial in the opening stages. A specialist is one of the lowest ranks in the military. The courts-martial should begin with the brigade commander, his executive officer, the battalion commander, and his executive officer, as well as others in the chain of command that had oversight of the prison. These charges should also include those who participated, but were not in the unit or the chain of command.
In the US Army, it's canon law that while you can delegate authority, you can never delegate responsibility. Since the buck stops with the leadership, it is there - not with the lowest-ranking individual - that the effort to determine what happened should begin.
It will be telling to see to what extent the Army holds its leadership accountable.
Thanks for your May 20 article "Bored in a meeting? Play games on your PDA." But it misses a major use of game platforms like PDAs, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo, and others: education. Automated Assisted Learning (AAL) is key to raising the education level of people of all ages.
Devices that are used for games also can be used for learning. The interaction between the user and the device enhances learning just as people learn math or the piano.
There are nearly 100 million game platforms in North America, but few if any are used in schools. So why not use this readily available resource and those new, powerful, small, and portable game platforms for education purposes?
G. Stanley Doore
Silver Spring, Md.
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