Letters to the editor

Compared to the U.S., Germany treats its immigrants well Plus: Macs need to be popular, hello, for Apple to survive; Newt the adulterer/Newt the hero


Letters to the Editor
January 25, 2000 10:00PM (UTC)


Germany shuns "foreign" families

BY ALLISON LINN AND AYLA JEAN YACKLEY
(01/06/00)

I am an Australian citizen, and a permanent legal resident of the United States,
thanks to my American wife, and I have three American children. I have
lived here for seven years. I pay taxes like everyone else, however I
am
not eligible for most of the benefits that citizens are provided. I am
not
eligible for student loans, I am not eligible for Social Security, even
though I have it taken out of my paycheck every month. I am not
eligible
for unemployment benefits even though my company pays unemployment
insurance for me. The list of programs I am not eligible for is long.

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Germany's policy by comparison is wonderful. They allow their legal
residents all the same programs as their citizens, except for this one
program. I could lose my job and be on the street with my American
family
tomorrow because I am not eligible for most assistance. This all
happened
when Congress passed the Personal Responsibility Act a number of years
ago. That was publicized as solving illegal immigrant problems, however
it also affected legal immigrants in many ways.

When we write an article that condemns another country for a
supposed double standard, we need to look at ourselves first to ensure
we
are not a greater offender.

-- Scott Martin

Your recent article "Germany shuns 'foreign' families" was one-sided and
weak on the
facts.

You claim that all child subsidy benefits are denied to foreigners in
Baden-Wuerttemburg, which is false. All parents are entitled to a
federal
child subsidy of about $130/month until the age of 18, and if one
parent
stays home, $300/month for two years. This includes anybody who lives
in
Germany, German or foreign. The subsidy in question was an additional
$200
(not $315) for low-income German families who are long-term permanent
residents of the state of Baden-Wuerttenburg. While I can't defend the
exclusion of foreigners, the vast majority of Germans are also
ineligible,
since they don't live in Baden-Wuerttemburg.

The lavish level of federal and state support for children and parents
in
Germany is unheard of in America. It includes not only direct payments
but
also subsidies for child care programs and family leave and vacation
laws
that would blow most Americans' minds.

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Germany has recently changed its centuries-old "Ius Sanguinis"
citizenship law, granting children born of legal residents
German citizenship and significantly liberalizing the naturalization
requirements for adults. However, dual citizenship past the age of 23
is
not allowed (it's
18 in the U.S.).

This isn't enough for many Turkish groups who demand dual
citizenship for adults as well. Germans say that people wanting to enjoy
the undeniably generous monetary benefits of life in Germany
should be willing to assimilate into German society, learn
the German language and democratic system of government and
break formal ties with their country of origin. The United States demands the
same, and most Germans feel it is reasonable.

Seeing as the current German law is among the more liberal in the first
world, it is irresponsible to imply that it's racist and xenophobic.

-- Jonathan E. Snow

Max-Planck Institut f|r Chemie, Abt. Geochemie

Mainz, Germany

I am a German living in New Mexico. I was born and raised in
former
East Germany. While most information in the article is correct, the
information that is left out unfortunately gives it an
unjustified bias.

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Germany so far does not allow dual citizenship. Ethnically Turkish
children
and their parents can obtain German citizenship, but do not want to
give up
their Turkish citizenship. (The same rule prevents me from ever getting
U.S.
citizenship without losing my German passport.) The article, however
gives
the impression that German
government agencies have an ethnic bias. I believe this to be untrue.

Germany has an asylum/immigration policy that is fundamentally
different
from that of the United States. Germany in the
aftermath
of WWII instituted the most generous asylum policy in the developed
world.
During the war in Bosnia, Germany housed more than 1 million Yugoslav
refugees at taxpayer cost. On a per-capita-basis in the U.S. this would
compare to at least 4 million refugees. When did the U.S. last commit
so
much for refugees?

The family described has, as admitted, access to extra welfare
payments,
but out of shame does not use them. This is regrettable, but cannot be
compared with the situation that immigrants in the U.S. face. If I (a
graduate student living here since 1992) cannot prove that I have ample
funds to support myself and my family, then I will simply be deported.
I
do not have the right to work to support myself.

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-- Peter Dorn

What
happened to the exclusive Club Mac?

BY DONNA LADD

(01/21/00)

I was confused by Donna Ladd's article. First she takes Apple to task
--
sorta -- for opening wide the doors to new customers, and then takes
them
to task for proprietary practices on their Web site. These sound like
two
different issues, neither of which are anything to get riled up about.

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To complain that Apple is making itself too accessible to customers
with
its new designs and software is like William Tell shooting his son in
the
head instead of the apple. Do we really want to go back to the days of
Amelio, slumping market share, confusing product lines and uninspired
boxes? As a Mac lover since 1984, I certainly don't. With its (probably) perpetual niche market share, Apple needs as many customers as it
can
get, and to stand out, it will have to innovate, something that can't
be
said in any meaningful way for any PC manufacturer.

Secondly, there's nothing forcing Macheads to use Apple's new site.
Unlike
PCs, Macs are easily customizable and simple to set to a new home page.
It's infinitely easier for newbies to change to Yahoo or Microsoft or
whatever than if they were on a Dell or -- God forbid -- a Compaq.

So I don't see the reason for the concern. Apple's resurgence should be
celebrated, not something over which to fret.

-- Chris Allbritton

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What are these bozos talking about? As I hear constantly from the Mac
faithful, the whole point of a Mac was to make it easy for anyone to
use a
computer. Or as they would put it, "Get the computer out of the way
and let
me work." Now they are complaining about the hand-holding that has made
me
avoid the Mac since it came out? Gotta wonder who it is that has been
"thinking different" all these years.

-- Jim Roberts-Miller

I refuse to use any list of "best" sites generated by any of the big
portals, or by Apple and probably soon Microsoft too, and for two
reasons. First, who are they to tell me what's best? The Net is one of
the
most
subjective creations ever made. As writer Donna Ladd said, beauty is
in
the eye of the
beholder.

Second, and more important, is the corruption factor. How long does
anyone think it will last before we start finding out that money has to
change hands before a site is considered "best"? Just like a certain
search engine with "go" in its name, these lists will become nothing
more
than advertisements for preferred clients.

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Apple is already starting this trend with the OS9 requirement mentioned
in Ladd's article. There's only one direction this can go, and it's a
direction I'd rather not follow.

-- Andrew Ray

Down the up staircase
BY JOE CONASON

(01/21/00)

The recent attacks on John McCain and his record are mostly rooted in
half-truths and misinformation. Your article contains the same. John
McCain is attacking the pervasive influence of "soft-money," millions
of
unregulated dollars being poured into the coffers of the DNC and RNC.
The
monies that you criticize him for are "hard-money" donations. The
letters
he wrote "on behalf" of his contributors asked for no specific ruling,
only
for a speedy end to a process long delayed by the FCC. That is a matter
of
record. It escapes me why the text of these letters which absolves
McCain
of these charges is never published. Additionally, in the article
"Buying the President 2000," the author refers to McCain's contributions
over his entire political career. Are these the "enormous
contributions"
you speak of? Why not include some actual facts in your reporting?
Then
we would be able to decide if there is actually a story here.

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-- Jeremy Aldridge


Newt's makeover

BY DAVID CORN

(01/20/00)

Newt Gingrich seeks to distinguish himself from President Clinton on
the
basis that Gingrich never lied under oath. (He grudgingly concedes
adultery, although he refuses to call it that, during his second
marriage;
he still denies adultery during his first marriage, although his wife
No.
2 was one of his various girlfriends during marriage No. 1.)

Gosh Newt, didn't you take an oath during both marriage ceremonies
(you
know, in church, in front of God) to "forsake all others" until "death
do
us part"? Clinton lied before an earthly grand jury (and did his own
lying
in front of a minister, too, but after all, he is not a good Christian
like you), but you lied twice before God. Why is adultery OK for
Republican Christians?

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-- John K. Cotter

Gingrich took over as speaker of the House
when long-term interest rates were rising, Alice Rivlin said the
deficit
would hit $400 billion by fiscal year 2000, welfare reform was bogged
down,
economic
growth had slipped to 1.7 percent, and Somalia and Haiti were messy
U.S.
foreign
ventures. At the end of his tenure, without any tax increases, what has
been accomplished? Eight million people off welfare and working; the
economy
growing at average 3.7 percent since; the budget balanced; from
fiscal years 1995-2000
projected deficits of close to $2 trillion have been turned around
where the
current five-year projections are for $500 billion non-Social Security
surplus. And this was all during a period when taxes on American
families and investors have been reduced.

All Corn can do is obsess about the speaker's
sex life. Just as we should not care about Clinton's affairs, nor
should we about the former speaker's.

-- Peter Rosenstock Huessy

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Your story on Newt Gingrich's address on the future was read with eager
delight by this less than fascinated observer of his actions over the
years. In my mind, Gingrich was a pompous self-aggrandizer with highly
questionable personal morals. Unfortunately he left a trail of pain
for
many in his years as majority leader of the House.

-- Cy Shaun

Rear
Window

BY CHARLES TAYLOR

(01/21/00)

Charles Taylor's examination of the voyeuristic aspects of "Rear
Window"
ignores a few key moments of the film which further complicate the
issue
at hand. Hitchcock not only avoids condemnation of peeping, he
implicates
the peeped in their desire to be peeped upon.

Early in the film, we are introduced to a married couple that sleeps on
their fire escape. The most intimate aspect of their marriage (aside
from
actual copulation) is willfully displayed for the entire courtyard to
see.
They have surrendered their privacy. Moreover, Miss Lonelyheart's
phantom
date not only shows her solitude, it illustrates her desire to treat
her
own life as an exercise in role-playing. As Hitchcock strongly
establishes the connection between real-life voyeurism and the act of
watching a film, so too is there a connection between performing and
living
one's life. As playing a role satisfies, to a point, one's desire to
live,
so does being watched.

-- Chad Levinson


Letters to the Editor

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Germany Immigration Infidelity Joe Conason John Mccain, R-ariz. Newt Gingrich

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