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Letters to the Editor

Monday August 06, 2001

Never an excuse for crimes like those of Reddy  



It’s touchy at best, but we have to look at ourselves and see how our well-intentioned policies have created damages to our communities.  

We’ve tried to see crime by people who, in our society, have long been abused because of their color in a different light, taking into account their oppression.  

Berkeley has gone so overboard in this direction as to come up with the kind of problem we’re seeing when looking at the Lakireddy situation.  

Their crime is being reviewed as though their excuses have some merit. 

Their excuses are subtended by Berkeley’s traditional concern with their community’s calling us racist.  

They are also using the customs/culture argument although in roundabout language. ‘ is our custom/culture...’ to rape/abuse girls/women/poor people/people who are back in the villages providing us our support so we can keep abusing them all. 

These (alleged and convicted) rapists need to be set away from our troubled society for the rest of their lives.  

We need to be protected against this kind of monstrosity. It’s bad enough we grow it locally, on our own, without it having to appear that since it’s done elsewhere, there’s any rationale for it, or that its perpetrators can be reformed.  

The people who have done these terrible acts have been here long enough to perceive that their actions, while occurring around here,too, are no way acceptable, and were not only criminal but brutal, sexist and ageist as well. 

If we’d clean up in one place, we might begin to render justice further in our community. These arguments for these intolerable actors are vomitous - I get literally ill seeing us protect that behavior in any way, any where. 


Norma J F Harrison 






No such thing as a pure economic system 



My chemistry professor paraphrased the law of entropy as “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” The Planet has been receiving many letters, of which Mr. Foldvary’s (8/2/01) is the latest, that suggest that economics is not subject to this type of constraint, and that you can actually get a whole free market, and not just lunch. 

The two ideas are similar in that both describe asymtotic limits that are not attainable in the real world. Educated people no longer attempt to build perpetual motion machines because they represent a “free lunch”. Unfortunately, Republicans and Libertarians are still trying to remove regulatory controls on the market in pursuit of their goal of the mythical “free market”. Unfortunately, because the free market limit is an inherently unstable limit. Yes, one can have stupid regulations, but an unregulated market will rapidly become an extremely unfree market. 

An unregulated market is prey to the development of oligopolies and oligopolic control (California energy prices, anyone?). An unregulated market has no way of dealing with externalities, and is inefficient and inequitable in its use of natural resources (the “tragedy of the commons”). An unregulated market optimizes for the moment, and cannot easily take costs now to defer more serious costs later (global warming, anyone?). An unregulated market has no ethics; it was not okay for the British to stand aside and let the Irish starve during the potato famine. 

On the other side of ideological fence, Syrek (8/1/01) claims that the market is a racket because of interest, dividends and rents. Capital is a resource and has a market. Syrek’s criticism is valid when rates are usurious or the initial outlay is unearned, but this is a problem that could be controlled by market regulations and estate and progressively structured income taxes (Senator Feinstein take note please!). 

Economic systems are not simple. Slavish devotion to extreme ideologies such as the free market or pure communism can force people into serving the economy, instead of the reverse. Humane and efficient solutions are more likely to arise in a regulated market economy. 


Robert Clear 



Don’t forget loses at Nagasaki 



Your article (page 1, Aug 4-5 issue) rightly calls attention to the horrible loss of civilian life at Hiroshima August 5, 1945. But equally unthinkable is the similar terror attack that struck Nagasaki some five days later. One bomb, though not at a civilian target, seemed possibly justifiable to me at the time (I was then 16). But why the second bomb? In the recent Truman biography by gifted historian David McCulloch, the justification for the second bomb is, for many readers, convincingly presented – and there is no question that Truman and his advisors were humane men – but surely Nagasaki should not be forgotten even if the justification will forever be debated. 


Bob Somers 



Take vehicle pollution into account 



Concern about the air pollution near the I-80 freeway should take into account the tire dust and benzene in the air. Tire dust (rubber & latex) is an extremely small particulate, too fine for most filters. Depending upon the amount actually lost from each tire, if one pound is lost each year it would be approximately 8000 tons total in the Bay Area. 

The Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto has found that children who live near a roadway with 20,000 or more vehicles per day have an 8 or 9 times higher chance of getting leukemia. 

Occupants of vehicles in congested traffic are often breathing the exhaust from the other vehicles, particularly at toll plazas on foggy days with still air. The tolls on the Bay Bridge should have been collected eastbound where the 16 lanes of toll collection could handle all the bridge traffic with no backup and the afternoon breezes dispersed the pollution for vehicle occupants and toll takers. 


Charles L. Smith 










Steve Geller  






Six months ago, I made up a handy acronym to remind me what I thought I 

would not like about the Bush administration. TEAR - Tax Cut, 

Environment, Abortion, Religion. Here’s the TEAR score today: 


The Tax Cut was enacted, and still looks to me like national fiscal 

irresponsibility to reward Bush’s bankrollers. But even Senator Feinstein 

voted for it. 


Environment -- Kyoto, Arsenic, Wildlife Range (need I say more?) 


Abortion -- Bush hasn’t done as much damage as I expected, possibly due 

to political vulnerability on other issues. Senator Boxer is sponsoring 

a bill to reverse Bush’s "gag rule", which denies federal funding to 

organizations which use their own funds to counsel women about 

reproductive choices, lobby for reproductive rights or provide 



Religion -- If I were one of the religious right folks, I’d feel poorly 

rewarded by the Bush administration. All that happened was the support 

for "faith based" public service groups. Stuff like school prayer 

and expunging evolution from the schoolbooks may have been put on hold 

due to present political vulnerabilities. 


But before long, I expect all Bush’s TEAR policies to be fully operational. 

Unfortunately for the country, let alone the world, we have 3 1/2 more 

years of Bush to go. 


Steve Geller 

2540 College #311 

Berkeley 94704 







Sat, 4 Aug 2001 22:37:52 EDT