Letters to the Editor

Kosovo refugees need food, not celebrity visits; don't trust Microsoft with your TV.

By Letters to the Editor
May 21, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)
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Hillary does Brazda

Refugees don't need visits from celebrities and photo-op driven first ladies.
For the cost of Clinton's self-serving tour, many of these refugees
could have been housed and fed for life. Seeing another "compassionate"
wealthy publicity hound, dressed and coifed to perfection, is not what these
refugees need. This is our modern version of "Let them eat cake."


While her husband drops his bombs, killing Kosovars in some cases, Hillary
exploits the refugees for her own agenda. This is not a game; it is a war.
Salon should be embarrassed by its "kiss-up" coverage of this obvious
campaign tour financed by the American taxpayers.

-- Jayne Carroll

Portland, Ore.

Give war a chance



If there is anything easier in 1999 than to write in support of the
NATO bombing of Serbia, than it's surely to smear the American left.
Ian Williams manages to do both in one article. The
day after NATO bombers blow away another 100 civilians -- this time Albanian
refugees -- and with peace in Kosovo seeming as distant as ever, Williams argues
that we need more popular support for military action. Of course, such
logic is to be expected from a writer who can recognize that Mumia
Abu-Jamal's trial "may have been a travesty" and dismiss the campaign for a
new one as a "bizarre quixotic cause" all in one neat paragraph.

"Give war a chance" is the lament of another blood-soaked pragmatist
passing himself off as an iconoclast.

-- Masha Alexander


I agree to some
extent with Williams' commentary on President Clinton; however, no president
operates in a vacuum, and, on those occasions when Mr. Clinton did stick
his neck out, such as during the debate on health care, the American
left was conspicuous by its absence. Ask so-called leftists in this
country why it took so long (with only a few shining exceptions) for the
American left to even begin protesting the $50 million Starr
investigation, or to respond to the conservative talk-show bully boys
and girls, and note the paucity of the response.

-- Ann C. Davidson



I found the article by Williams very disturbing. The United Nations Charter states that
countries should not attack another country unless in self-defense. It is not a perfect system, but it is
what we have and should be respected. The bombing campaign is destabilizing the
entire region and increase the suffering of all those involved.

The conditions that gave rise to the
rise of fascism -- economic instability, the lack of
democratic institutions and isolationism -- are the
same conditions that allowed the rise to power of
racists like Milosevic. Instead of bombing the country and starting World War III, we
should be repairing the economy, supporting democratic institutions and bringing Yugoslavia
to a more stable place where humanitarian policies can be implemented.

Bombing the hell out of Yugoslavia is not a heroic act, but one of a
coward. Immediate measures to protect Kosovar
Albanians from atrocities might include arms and
military assistance to the KLA, but we typically
reserve such aid for Guatemalan, Chilean and
Indonesian dictators.


-- Andrew Berna-Hicks

Oakland, Calif.

Bill Gates' set-top boxing


A compelling argument against the
Microsoft set-top boxes is Microsoft's repeated privacy violations
in their software. Time and time again, we have had our privacy
violated by Microsoft, with only a tepid response of "whoops, that's
a bug," or "we collected the data, but have not done anything with it."


Several pundits have reasoned that TV-Web convergence is being
driven by advertisers' dreams of targeted marketing based on
user viewing or surfing patterns. I am not at all comfortable that
Microsoft has a clue as to what privacy means to me. With my
new cable connection provided by only AT&T (monopoly), I may
not have a choice as to what kind of privacy I can have.

-- Don Radick

Rosenberg's article is a "direct miss." Would most of us pay to have a "Web window wrapped around" cable service? No. On the other hand, most of us would like to pay a single provider for all of our "digital services," instead of the three to five most of us pay now: cable/satellite TV, local phone, long distance and Internet. And the key point in the investment -- what kind of software will be on the front end to tie it all together?

AT&T got it right. The company's recent purchases are brilliant, and give them the physical infrastructure that defines "convergence." Gates et al. just leveraged their investment in the migration from desktop to whatever appliance(s) we'll use in the home.


-- R. Alexander

Davis, Calif.

Name game

In 1966, my parents named me Zoe, after the daughter of A.S. Neil, a
then-trendy child psychologist who believed that children should do
exactly as they wished at all times. In the 1970s, I knew of no one else
named Zoe. No one had ever heard of the name, and everyone asked, "What
is your real name?" On the phone, adults thought I was saying "Joey" or
"Sophie." Then, suddenly,
around 1995, it happened. Zoe became the new name of the moment. Go figure. Susan, I sympathize.

-- Zoe Francesca


"I smell the presense of Satan"


"Evangelical" Christian movements (the word actually means "messenger of
good news," and has a long history as the name of a denomination in my
own church's history) in this country appealed to poor whites in the
South and West, where they were on the fringes of a society dominated by
wealthy landholders. The "mainstream" Christian churches (Catholic,
Presbyterian, Episcopal) were populated by the wealthier whites; so poor
whites found comfort in "evangelical" movements, where they were
accepted for who they were. But they were also keenly aware they were
still not acceptable, even as brothers and sisters in Christ, to the
more well-heeled Christians.

So being "outcast" became a part of their identity; and this identity
carried over when "evangelical" Christian churches began to appeal to
wealthier, middle-class whites. So now "evangelicals" -- despite the fact
they often have the largest churches in town, and sometimes the
wealthiest pastors -- still feel they haven't earned the respect of their
"older brothers," the mainstream, European-based denominations.

It's an odd position for a denomination (in the article the pastors lump
themselves under the title "evangelicals," in distinction to the
Protestant and Catholic umbrellas) that dominates the culture in the
South and West; but until Cullen's article, I'd never considered how
truly defining it is.


-- Rev. Robert M. Jeffers

Pastor, St. Peter United Church of Christ


Cullen refuses to ask the big question: "Was the evangelical
Christian community a significant cause of the disaster?" Cullen
points out the ostracizing elements of the evangelical churches; this
question is the logical extension of that line of reasoning. Moreover,
the mainstream media seem to have completely overlooked this issue,
possibly because it would be political suicide to appear to be blaming
Jesus for the tragedy.

-- Peter Gerdes

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