Top priority: improving relations with Muslims abroad
Regarding the July 19 article, "How well are American Muslims fitting in?": Concerns about American Muslims fitting in are based on the assumption that perhaps isolation of American Muslims contributed to the rage against the United States, and better integration will somehow improve our security.
I wish things were that simple. Better integration is good for our society. It could reduce street-level crime, but then again, Muslims across the US are not largely known for street-level crimes.
If the concern, however, is national security, then we need to improve relations with Muslims outside the US. History tells us that such approaches are expensive, but by engaging in a serious and constructive dialogue, the US can offer help that would improve their societies.
After reading the July 15 article, "Road rage redux," I thought of the small picture of an empty boat on the water that hangs from the rearview mirror in my car.
It is there to remind me of a story by the Chinese philosopher, Chuang Tzu. The story tells of a man who collides with an empty boat while crossing a river. The collision does not make him angry, and he goes along his way. When he comes across a boat with a man in it, he proceeds to shout and curse at him to steer clear. If the boat were empty, he would not have been shouting and not been angry.
When I'm in busy traffic, I try to imagine that the car in front of me is empty. This often helps me to calm down and go on my way.
In response to the July 20 article, "A Carolina fight over swearing on the Koran in court": I am a Muslim, and I have heard of Muslims who feel the whole idea of swearing on the Bible is silly, not because they don't respect the Bible, which they do, but because it doesn't make sense that somebody would have to swear to tell the truth on a Bible, or a Koran, or on any book.
Shouldn't a person tell the truth without having to swear? If a person has to swear to tell the truth, can his or her testimony be taken seriously?
Richard H. Paul
The July 21 editorial, "What to Ask Nominee Roberts," was thoughtful and balanced. As you pointed out, Justice Ginsburg was an activist for women's rights and had worked for the ACLU. She was approved by a Senate vote of 96 to 3.
We can only hope that the Senate will be as fair to a right-of-center nominee as it was to a left-of-center nominee.
Prescott Valley, Ariz.
When I first found myself getting into the July 8 article by Christopher Andreae, "The taming of the screws, and other tools," I began to wonder - as I often do with such personal essays - who cares?
But I read on until I began to realize that he was me! I determined when we moved into a new home 15 years ago that never again would I allow a garage workshop to fall into chaos but would build a bench and shelves. I would hang the peg board and would place each tool and, well, each screw and nail and drill and drill bit into its own place. If I may say so, I have kept it up to the point that it is rare that I cannot go directly to an object and right away put it back where it belongs.
It certainly saves time and minimizes stress. Yes, Mr. Andreae, you, er, hit the nail on the head.
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