Letters to the Editor

What's the real smell of Eau de Mac?? Plus: For damn sure Ken Starr has regrets; astonished agreement with Arianna.


Letters to the Editor
September 23, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)

Eau de Mac
BY JANELLE BROWN
(09/15/99)

The "eau de Mac" is the smell of a Pentium being thoroughly and completely toasted.

-- Jon F. Buckley

Janelle Browne's article is off the mark. To expect an odorless environment when any
new appliance/machine is first used is folly. Does she complain if her car has that "new car" smell? Does she complain when that new coffee maker smells plasticky?

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-- Dennis Prunkl

Hollywood snares
BY JANELLE BROWN

(09/17/99)

There is no possibility that PCs can mimic what television does, at least not at the present time. Computers simply lack the ease of use and reliability that characterize other consumer electronics devices. A huge percentage of our population is alienated by this medium. They have the good common sense to stay away from machines that cost as much as a 40-inch TV, are unreliable and viciously user-unfriendly, have a fraction of the product life of a TV (I've had my Sony Trinitron for 15 years) and that subject people to endless (and expensive) rounds of software and hardware "upgrades."

PCs essentially evolved as office machines. They suffer from a design minimalism that is perhaps appropriate in a business setting -- if they are a bit frustrating or confusing to use, well, who cares about employees being frustrated, right? Certainly not American managers! Machines honed under these conditions make for poor home use and cannot be a substitute for a TV home entertainment center.

If Hollywood wants to produce TV-type shows for home computer viewing and consumption, I wholeheartedly recommend that Hollywood and the phone companies wrest control of the shape and format of computers from the hardware and software crowd. PCs are not going to be a good delivery system for mass-market "couch potato" style viewing and entertainment unless everyone in the computer industry, from Bill Gates on down, is disciplined by people who have an interest in PCs being a means to something else -- and not ends in themselves.

-- Leslie Farkas

Chicago

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Bringing 'em back alive
BY ELEANOR STACY PARKER

(09/15/99)

I enjoyed the article on anesthesia, and felt it gave the public
some comforting information. However, it is a serious omission to
neglect to mention that anesthesiologists (physicians who
specialize in giving anesthesia) are only half of the
professionals who provide the anesthesia care discussed in
the article. For over 100 years, certified registered nurse
anesthetists (nurse practitioners with advanced training in
anesthesia) have been giving safe and comfortable patient care,
same as the M.D. anesthesiologists. We often train side by side,
and do the same kinds of cases in adjacent operating rooms every
day, with equally good outcomes. The frightening stories of
deaths from anesthesia given outside the hospital are often from
having anesthetic drugs given by individuals who are neither
board-certified anesthesiologists nor CRNAs.

-- John Evans, CRNA, Ph.D.

Baltimore


Regrets, he has a few


BY VIVIENNE WALT

(09/16/99)

If Ken Starr has any regrets, it's that his partisan witch-hunt didn't pay off.
His wish that someone else had investigated l'affaire Lewinsky is not unlike Richard Nixon saying he wished he hadn't made tapes: If they'd handled their respective situations differently, maybe the constitutional subversions they attempted would have worked.

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And no power on earth can convince me that he's not timing his final report to do the most damage to Hillary's (expected) Senate campaign. Starr always has been and always will be a partisan first -- the only thing that could surprise me at this point is if the GOP in his home state don't try to run him for Senate when he finally wraps things up.

-- Daniel J Sikorski

Kenneth Starr's plea that he never meant to carry on
a vendetta against President Clinton has a strong
odor of hypocrisy. He conveniently overlooks the
abuse and intimidation of a host of innocent
witnesses by himself and his deputies; their leaks of
grand jury information on at least 24 occasions; their
use of Tripp's illegally obtained tapes and their secret
collusion with the Paula Jones lawyers to put a sting
on the president; their abrogation of attorney-client
privilege; and Starr's pornographic report to Congress
to egg on the Republicans to their totally partisan
impeachment.

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History will record that Kenneth Starr spent five years
and $50 million to parlay a sordid sex story
into a reckless effort to bring down a popular
Democratic president, and thus created a national
nightmare. He deserves dismissal for cause, and
retirement in public disgrace from his position
as independent counsel.

-- Morton Wachspress

Woodmere, N.Y.

Your article on Kenneth Starr was sleazy reading indeed. One point which was
not emphasized enough during this whole mess was that Starr had never
prosecuted a case in his life. Such incompetence and arrogance and what
an example of what can happen when such unbridled power is placed in the
hands of a few!

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-- Joanne C. Murray

Santa Barbara, Calif.

Let them eat stock options
BY ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

(09/16/99)

I never thought I'd hear Arianna Huffington utter such words, but today my
hat is off to her. I'm the director of a homeless shelter in Ogden, Utah,
and have spent the past 14 years in the "free-fire zone." I have
witnessed the growing epidemic of compassion fatigue, especially among those
who wish to gentrify those urban areas no middle-class American would dared to
have entered prior to the mid-'90s. Her comments make eminent sense to
those of us at ground zero: The poor really don't matter to those seeking
office and that attitude has infected even many of those who seek office on
the local level.

-- Chuck Rostkowski

St. Anne's Center

Ogden, Utah

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If Americans wanted to take care of the poor they could simply redirect
some of the taxes they use to prop up the governments of Israel, Egypt,
South Korea and others for domestic issues. And meaningless
pork military projects such as the Seawolf submarine and the F-22 fighter
could be canceled and the money used to address poverty.

More taxes aren't the answer. Americans already pay taxes nearly
equivalent to "socialist" countries such as Canada. The money simply
needs to be spent domestically.

-- Brad Clawsie

Arianna Huffington lambastes the Clinton administration's statements encouraging
business expansion in blighted areas: "This is not about charity ... it's
about investment. There's money to be made." As an alternative, she offers
nothing but another giant tax break for charitable (religious) contributions
and the same business tax and regulation breaks the Republican have pushed
for decades (legalized sweatshops). What about the Clinton administration's
role in raising the minimum wage, arguably the most important anti-poverty
program since the Great Society? Where was Huffington during that debate? Probably screaming that a
guaranteed living wage would destroy the American economy.

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Huffington also distorts statistics to turn the success of traditional
anti-poverty efforts into failure; "In 1964, 36 million Americans lived in
poverty. Thirty-five years and a War on Poverty later, 35.6 million
Americans live in poverty." Thirty-five years ago, the population of the United States
was substantially less than what it is today. With a huge increase in population, a
real reduction in the absolute number of poor people is a huge victory.

But the most disgusting theory Huffington advances is the idea that electing
another callous conservative like Reagan or Bush Sr. will energize the
coalition of anti-poverty groups into effective action. While more might
have been written about the plight of the poor during Republican
administrations, much less was done. The gap between haves and have-nots, which
Huffington claims to care so much about, steadily expanded during the
Reagan-Bush years. This expansion only slowed and slightly reversed during
the Clinton administration, in spite of the best efforts of a savage
Republican Congress. As Huffington apes Marie Antoinette's solution for the
hungry poor with her call to "let them eat column inches," I can only hope
her career as a pundit suffers the same fate as the former queen of
France -- a public beheading and a pauper's grave.

-- Ken Erfourth

While I may burst into flames for saying this, I agree with Arianna
Huffington. Our nation has forgotten the poor and has been pretending for
years that they have vanished. I am saddened that it takes someone like
Huffington to voice what every Democrat should have been hammering on for
years. Social programs designed to help those in poverty and especially
children in poverty have been bled dry over the last two decades. Instead
we send our tax money so that crackpot defense contractors can develop
multimillion-dollar weapons which will never work or even be built. The
fat cats get richer and the poor get more so. Our legislators spend their
time trying to white-out and amend the Constitution so that prayer can be
required of our kids in school, where they learn about obviously erroneous
creationist "theories." Our Congress is nothing but a collection of
money-grubbing whores whose votes are for sale.

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-- Scott Raybern

Arianna Huffington addresses the greatest problem our
country now faces -- and the one least addressed by the press and candidates seeking the
presidency. The widening gulf in income between the haves and the have-nots
just isn't represented in unemployment statistics, which only point to
employment in general terms and don't distinguish between a full-time,
salaried employee and a struggling, uninsured part-timer. Frankly, these stats seem to
serve the purposes of politicians, so that they might point to them as
proof of our nation's burgeoning prosperity while neglecting the vast numbers of
unemployed, partially employed and uninsured suffering under their watch.

While temping two years ago, I worked with several single mothers who were
paid so little at their primary jobs that they were forced to work second jobs to
support their children. These women also juggled their work schedules so that
when their smaller children were awake and at home, they would be, too. Often
this entailed working all-night shifts, and staying up in order to see their
children off to school before heading off to another job, after which they
might get three hours of sleep before their children returned home in the early evening.
So many working mothers are criticized for not raising their children
properly, yet when they do everything humanly possible to be there for them, they're met
with roadblock after roadblock, imposed not just by private employers, but
also by the government: The women I'm speaking of had state-funded jobs.

I've grown cynical and doubtful that the problems of a great many people
in this country will ever be addressed by a presidential candidate. However, if a
politician who could shatter my cynicism should come along, he or she would
have my gratitude and my vote in a heartbeat.

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-- Jennifer C. Wise

A Weicker/Huffington independent ticket in 2000? Nah -- America doesn't
deserve it.

-- Michael Goetz


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