Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday August 03, 2011 - 01:10:00 PM

Myth of the "impartial" press; Disappointed Obama Fans; University Matters; Sports Basement at Berkeley Iceland is an Abomination; Altruism; Peace Lanterns; Malaise; Nasty, Brutish and Short: Found on the Freecycle Site 

Myth of the "impartial" press 

Excellent editorial expanding on Krugman's indictment of "on the one hand; on the other hand" delivery of news and opinion. The worst offenders of "even-handed" reporting are the most pretentiously intellectual. (Example: "60 Minutes," when it tackles an important issue, as it so rarely does anymore. Also, too often, the PBS news on which appointed/paid salesmen for various interests‹‹government and private‹‹push their bosses' agenda.) As you state, there is often just one true "side" on a particular issue, likely to be articulated by people who are well-informed on it, and we "need to know what they think." We can make up our own minds about the worth of their words without giving equal time to some "crackpot" or servant of some industry's profit motive.) Thank you for not being, and reminding us that no one is, nor should be, "above the fray." 

Dorothy Bryant 

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Disappointed Obama Fans 

I am constantly amazed at people expressing disappointment in President Obama, calling him moderate or even conservative, rather than liberal or progressive. That's what happens when people make voting decisions based on what a candidate looks like and what he says, rather than his past record. Obama’s “call for change,” the fact that he is a Black-American, and some wishful thinking, gave him a progressive or at least a far left of center look to some. His marketing strategy won him the presidency. Yet, even a token investigation of Obama’s record as an Illinois state senator (1997-2004) and his short time as a U.S. Senator (2005-2008) would have shown little or no evidence that he was a progressive or a far-left liberal. Obama just told a better story than John McCain and Sarah Palin. He connected emotionally with voters. If you are disappointed in Obama, you should look in the mirror to see where part of the blame lies. 

Ralph E. Stone  

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University Matters 

Having worked at UC Berkeley for some twenty years or more-- most of that time at Boalt Hall School of Law -- I have a keen interest in dispelling the widely-held notion that this campus has little going for it except Saturday football games and student protests in Sproul Plaza. 

I would challenge that erroneous perception and point out the many worth while services and activities offered by this great University. 

Listed below are just a few of these programs. Sixty five languages are taught in Berkeley, including Romanian, Swahili, Tagalog and Hindi. 13,000 students have studied abroad through the Education Abroad Program. Berkeley currently hosts 3774 international students and 257 exchange students. 

Eighteen Cal undergraduates have earned coveted summer internships as part of the new Cal Energy Corps -- a pilot program inspired by the 50 Anniversary of the Peace Corps. More than 70 students applied for spots at organizations all over the world. 

U.C. Berkeley has earned a top-seventh berth in all academic disciplines reviewed for the latest Q.S. World University rankings, with second place in chemistry, environmental sciences, geography and area studies, metallurgy and materials, and sociology. 

A Vietnamese American gets a scholarship to study Anthropology in Turkey. An art exhibit examines abuses at Abu Ghraib, another exposes corruption in Mexico's judiciary, all made possible by Berkeley's International and Area studies and federal grant program called Title VI. Residents of 1920’s protested plans for International House (I House) -- a community where foreign and American students could study and socialize without barriers. But founder Harry Edmonds relished the fight. His dream was to help students see that despite their racial and national differences, they were more alike than different. He defiantly selected a site on Piedmont Avenue, abutting whites only -- "to strike bigotry and exclusiveness right hard in the nose. Today I-House is home to 600 foreign and American students each year. Through a packed calendar of lectures, social activities and debates, residents gain a new perspective of their place in the world. I think you'll agree that the University of California at Berkeley contributes enormous intellectual growth to the bay area. 

NOTE: I obtained this information from a publication, "Bears without Borders." 

Dorothy Snodgrass 

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Sports Basement at Berkeley Iceland is an Abomination  

Many of us have never given up hope that Berkeley Iceland can reopen as an ice skating rink. While the ice rink in Oakland is lovely – In fact it has two rinks and apparently the St. Moritz ice club that I remember so fondly from Berkeley is at home there – for many of us who are recreational skaters Berkeley Iceland is the only choice, as Oakland is too far away, with insufficient parking. In fact although my son and I frequented Berkeley Iceland for many years, both skating separately at the same time, we have never been on the ice at the Oakland rink. 

We love to skate but Oakland is not convenient. Berkeley was perfect and represented the best idea of democracy that Berkeley purports or purported to offer. 

We should do all in our power as a city and as a university to reopen Berkeley Iceland. 

In this context, sports basement represents passive consumerism while Berkeley Iceland can once again be an active place for young people to meet, mix and mingle and stay trim while boomers can continue skating to grow old gracefully gliding like frictionless swans. 

Wendy Schlesinger 

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We all are waiting for some magical power to teach sharing and caring to our nation. We have replaced the politics of trust with the politics of party. The country as a whole is suffering from anxiety and uncertainty about every important thing in their life. Our future safety is slipping out of our hands. 

I don't know when we will introspect to fix our economy without hurting the general population. Self-interest has to come later. Until others and their interests come first there will be an endless tug of war and no solution in sight. 

Romila Khanna 

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The horrifying spectacle of Israeli troops raiding a popular theatre for Palestinian children breaking windows and arresting its hugely popular director, is further proof of a deepening malaise gripping Israel. The Freedom Theater has been a great boon to Palestinian children living under Israel’s brutal apartheid system. Two of the theatre’s co-founders were surrounded by 50 heavily armed soldiers and forced to squat next to a family with four small children. According to the ‘Economist’, every Friday and after school Israeli soldiers ‘fire tear gas and sonic bombs at Palestinian children in the village of Nabi Saleh. Children as young as eleven have been detained; many snatched from their beds and sent off to languish in Israel’s dark dungeons for months. Apparently, Palestinians – not even children - are afforded basic human rights that we take for granted in the US. Iran Segal, a settler at a Jewish Halamish settlement was heard complaining that “the soldiers don’t maim enough Palestinians.” 

Predictably, there was no outrage shown by the ‘pro-Israel can do no wrong’ letter writing lobby. It is unconscionable that our lawmakers and administration continue to remain silent in response to Israel’s outrageous behavior. I would readers to write to your lawmakers and demand that we end our military and economic support to Israel. Our own economy is in a free fall and there is no justification in sending billions of ‘deficit-dollars’ to enhance Israel’s already bloated military and encourage its continuous violations of international law. 


Jagjit Singh  


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Peace Lanterns  

August 6 and 9 mark the 66th anniversary of the world's first atomic bombings; the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their citizens were completely devastated. The tenth annual Japanese Peace Lantern Ceremony takes place on August 6th from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the North end of Aquatic Park in Berkeley to honor the victims and express the wish that atomic weapons will never again be used. Those who attend the event will decorate the shades of candle-lighted lantern boats and float them on the water. 

This beautiful land moving tradition, which takes place each year in Japan and around the world, provides a chance to reaffirm a commitment to building a nuclear-free future 

Helen Isaacson 

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Nasty, Brutish and Short: Found on the Freecycle Site 

“Kitchen-Aid White trash compactor; works great in perfect condition. In our garage, so email first to arrange pick-up. El Sobrante location” 

Dave Blake 


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