World fails in condemning Burma's ruling generals
In response to the Oct. 5 article, "Monks flee crackdown in Burma": I am sad, but very grateful to read your coverage of the situation for nonviolent seekers of freedom from the Burmese junta's execrable rule. All who love that country and its gentle populace are distressed to read of continuing repression by various illegal military cohorts, which have failed their people since 1962. The rest of the world that profit thereby, particularly the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as my own country, which so far has failed adequately to condemn this long misery, may seek partial redress of this in part at the United Nations. I fear that the generals have not been listening and will continue to carry out these attacks on our fellow human beings.
Victoria, British Columbia
US must act quickly to restore habeas
I appreciate William Neukom's Oct. 5 Opinion piece, "Restore habeas, restore security." The point he makes, that not doing so "actually increases the risk that US personnel and tourists overseas will be imprisoned without legal review," is chilling.
Something must be done quickly, not only to safeguard US citizens abroad who may suffer the consequences of bad policy, but to uphold the universal rights of man on which our Constitution is founded. If we expect to continue our position as a world leader, we must also lead in the treatment of all those for whom we are responsible, even if we don't agree with them.
'No Child' equals no learning
Regarding your Sept. 25 editorial, "Let the 'No Child' law do its work": People should not be fooled by the appearance of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which claims to be a response to failed educational programs. This act takes the emphasis away from well-rounded teaching and places it on narrowly focused testing. Teachers no longer have time for teaching and have to follow a very rigid test-preparation course designed to train students to mechanically jump through academic hurdles.
Schools that fail to keep their scores up due to increased enrollment among those who speak minority languages are discriminatively punished by diminished funding and a forced adherence to a system of shallow, scripted teaching. The focus isn't at all on comprehension; it's on mechanics. We shouldn't forget that many of us went to school during a time when testing and standards hadn't yet become the tail that wags the dog. The people who conceived the NCLB are not educators; they are anti-intellectual politicians from the far right. Most of them wouldn't send their children to public schools but prefer private schools where they are still allowed to teach: art, physical education, music, foreign languages, and social studies. These subjects are the real "children" who are being left behind.
Santa Rosa, Calif.
Much more than power lines
In response to the Oct. 4 article, "US trumps states over siting power lines": The federal government is facilitating mining by mountaintop removal and drilling in National Wildlife Refuges and power-line construction in the Upper Delaware River National Park and many other US communities. Ordinary folks, writers, and artists are working hard to protect our public spaces and to preserve our constitutional and personal rights. This is about much more than power lines!
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