Cosby flap: His comments took wisdom, courage

Regarding Benin Dakar's July 20 Opinion piece, "Cosby and black underclass: a challenge, not an indictment": I suspect that I, like many others, wonder why the leaders of the "black community" have neither had the wisdom nor the courage to speak out as accurately and as forcefully as Mr. Cosby did.

The hard fact is that the black middle class and upper-middle class do not have a strong tradition in this country of going back into the inner city to help those left behind. Perhaps their escape from those confines is too recent.

But if now is not the time, then when?
Garrard Glenn
Los Angeles

My problem with Mr. Cosby's comments is the venue he chose to voice his concerns. The type of African-Americans he criticized do not attend NAACP dinners, nor are they likely to watch CNN or "Larry King Live."

If Cosby sincerely wants to change the mentality of the people he so harshly criticized, he should go to where these people are and talk to them.
Monica S. Morris
Gary, Ind.

Bill Cosby's message is just what we need. But he'll have a hard time being heard because he doesn't tickle the ears with false platitudes. He places the hard truth in front of all for a strong whiff of full-strength verbal smelling salts.

The fact that many will not heed his words has nothing to do with the messenger. It has everything to do with the truth of his indictments and his calls for action on the right track - action that addresses root causes, not merely symptoms.
Mike Stempo
Bethlehem, Pa.

Is Edwards ready, or not?

In your July 7 editorial, "The Edwards Balancing Act," it was a bit of an understatement to note that Sen. John Edwards "is far less experienced in politics and foreign policy than [Sen. John] Kerry."

Indeed, when Senator Edwards was his opponent in the primaries for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Kerry said: "The American people want an experienced hand at the helm.... This is not the time for on-the-job-training ... on national security issues."

Now, suddenly, Kerry says that "John Edwards is ready for the job."
Daniel Sobieski

Serious troubles for Britain, and Blair

Regarding the July 19 Opinion piece, "Blair wooed Americans, not folks at home": I, and many other British voters, would dispute the description of Tony Blair as an astute prime minister who is "running his small country well."

Britain has serious problems with its health, criminal justice, transport, and education services. Regulation of financial institutions continues to be poor and there is no apparent strategy for dealing with energy and environmental issues. These problems are addressed with media-targeted "initiatives" designed to manage opinion rather than provide substantive solutions.

And as for foreign policy, the Butler report suggests that this was dishonorable at worst and incompetent at best. Mr. Blair once urged Parliament to "concentrate on the spin, not the substance," a Freudian blooper of monumental proportions and a fitting epitaph for his career.
Brian Clover

Many British citizens question Mr. Blair's decision to send troops to Iraq, but they are largely satisfied with his domestic policy and his management of the economy. The real issue is not whether Blair will be reelected, but what he will achieve with five more years in office.
Alistair Budd
Bristol, England

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