The US should maintain an active role in UN reform

Regarding the March 17 article, "US frowns at UN's new rights watchdog": The creation of a new United Nations Human Rights Council is a positive step forward for the global community and US foreign policy. There is now a legitimate forum in which we can tackle the worst crimes known to man.

The council should have - and could have - more closely reflected the original vision outlined by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. However, this did not happen, in part due to the inability of US Ambassador John Bolton to make key US positions clear to US allies. Constructive US engagement in the coming months and years is vital for the council to be strong and ensure that human rights abusers are left on the sidelines of the new council.

To Mr. Bolton's credit, his statement at the General Assembly after the council was adopted properly reiterated the United States' commitment to support all UN institutions that advance democracy and human rights, and to strengthen this vital multilateral organization. Such a task will not be easy.

Securing a positive outcome on a host of critical UN issues in the coming months, including the election of Mr. Annan's successor, will take hard work, sustained focus, and discipline. US foreign policy interests require that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put this among her highest priorities.
Don Kraus
Executive Vice President, Citizens for Global Solutions

'Black. White.' TV needs a reality check

Regarding the March 3 article, "Black & white TV": I watched an episode of the "Black. White." TV show. Although I was very impressed with the makeup artists' abilities and that those involved in making the show took on the challenge of confronting a very sensitive issue, I was not impressed with the reality of the show.

I am concerned that society will not tolerate scenes of radical disparity on TV. I realize the protection and safety of the actors are concerns, but protecting them lessens the impact of racial reality issues.

I feel that if people want to see how the other ethnic group lives, they should encounter the total experience - i.e. live in a real black or white neighborhood, shop at a neighborhood grocery store, and mingle with those within the neighborhood.

There are many things that can change the outcome of the show and make it more realistic, if such changes were allowed. Until then, it should be clear the TV show is "for entertainment purposes only."
Yvonne Dudley
Columbia, S.C.

Fun with musical fusion

I was not surprised to read the interesting March 17 article, "Good looks + opera hooks = adult boy band," about the seemingly inevitable crossover of opera and pop music. Most of us enjoy the musical arts, from folk to classical to jazz to rock.

It should surprise no one that this fusion has sprung from the modern visual medium of television, with its promise to entertain (if not enlighten), and the ancient operatic stage, with its lush beauty and stylized human drama. Any performance that brings the emotional depth and mythic stories in live opera to more people is to be encouraged and applauded.

As an aside, when I read the two words "pop" and "opera," I felt compelled to blend the two sounds together into a name with a little hook all its own: "poppera." (For that, I beg forgiveness from lovers of opera and Il Divo!)
Joseph Peter Bridy

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