Libraries that help assimilate immigrants bring rewards
I would like to express my thanks for publishing the July 7 article, "The library was the perfect place for a new immigrant," which addressed the way a Russian immigrant improved her English by going to her local public library. As the daughter of Greek immigrants, who grew up in Detroit and became a librarian, this essay touched me on many levels.
I am positive that my summers spent lounging on the floor of the Children's Room at the Edison Branch of the Detroit Public Library informed my decision 20 years later to become a librarian. I am a children's librarian at San Francisco Public and I love it. I can't imagine a more rewarding job. Especially if people like Ms. Groban are the result.
To one with 20 years of library experience, the July 7 article, "The library was the perfect place for a new immigrant," brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful testimony to human courage and dedication to a goal.
I would only suggest that she should say to today's immigrants who come to her library, "May I help you?" Her willingness and ability are well established, and she is only asking permission.
Santa Fe, N.M.
Western sanctions in Africa
The June 27 article, "China takes up civic work in Africa," which addressed China's relationship with Africa, was interesting and informative. Perhaps future articles will address the current conditions in Zimbabwe.
In my opinion, Zimbabwe's current deplorable economic conditions are the result of draconian sanctions from the West, especially by Britain and the US. These sanctions are in retaliation to President Mugabe's actions in 2000, when he appropriated prime farmland held by former British colonists and returned it to the indigenous people of Zimbabwe. The resulting Western sanctions have caused a downward economic spiral.
Instead of trying to foment a revolution in Zimbabwe, which it appears the West would like to see, why not try to help Zimbabwe as China has done, with economic investment?
It appears to me that lately Britain or the US might be looking for an excuse to intervene militarily, which could lead to a chaotic mess worse than in Iraq.
Unexpected costs with iPhone
Regarding your June 28 article, "All in one pocket: iPhone weds cellphone, camera, iPod, Internet," addresses the hype of the new product. Though the iPhone may be an indicator of things to come, it is very costly (it starts at $499). For the price of an iPhone, I can purchase two cell-phones, one with an MP3 and one with a camera and still have money left over for a year's service. And in order to make the iPhone work, AT&T will charge a service fee of between $60 and $100 a month.
iPhone users are looking at a bill from between $1,220 and $1,800. In my opinion, it is better to wait and see if this idea sells and will grow.
The May 31 article "Why so few bomb-safe US military trucks in Iraq" showed that there are a hardly any blast-resistant trucks protecting US troops in Iraq. The Iraq war has been on for four years and most of the vehicles our troops are forced to use are essentially embellished humvees. In my opinion, Hummers are no more than a spruced up version of the jeep concept, a utility vehicle, not an armor car or half track or tank. Does anyone remember the miracle of the United States production of World War II materiel? How the arsenal of democracy produced, from a dead stop, tens of thousands of aircraft, a hundred aircraft carriers, and thousands and thousands of tanks as well as countless other military vehicles and arms in a short three or four years?
Our men and women in the military are put in harm's way and deserve the best in equipment and support, period. Our brave troops, true and patriotic, can and must have the needed equipment. If our government is not going to provide it, then our troops should be withdrawn from combat.
Bad Axe, Mich.
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