Letters to the editor

The divide between blacks and jobs isn't digital Plus: How to improve the election process; was "Kiss Me, Kate" worth reviving?

Published March 6, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Is the digital divide a black thing?

To speculate upon and lament a possible "digital divide between blacks and whites" is in a sense absurd. To put a laptop in every black home seems an inferior option than that of cultivating the intellectual capital that is necessary for technological progress. In any given year, only a handful of blacks earn doctorates in the intellectual disciplines such as mathematics, physics and evolutionary biology. This is the real scandal. It is ultimately insights found in these disciplines and others that form the foundation of technology. Lament this, unless of course one thinks that blacks can only be end-users of the ideas the fuel progress -- give me a break with this digital divide nonsense.

-- Greg Price

This article sheds light on the negative impact Jesse Jackson and other political leaders have on people like myself, who learned how to use computers much like some of my classmates learned how to play basketball: in the inner city and the depths of poverty. I am now a professional computer programmer in the finance industry and the most difficult problem I have is convincing some suburban white kids that I am as clever as they, if not more, and getting respect accordingly. When the media suggests that technical skill in contemporary high technology is a race thing and not a class thing, these suburban kids in my job interview may feel compelled to pass me up for someone they consciously or unconsciously feel is genetically capable of programming a computer.

To me computers are like basketball courts: These boxes are the unbiased judges of my skill level and too few people in hiring and management positions are not able to ask the box how good I am. It is too bad I can't play on TV for all to see me slam dunk. But the Internet's World Wide Web is the next best thing.

-- Bryan Wilhite

The new callousness

I'm so glad to see you once again carry an article written by Huffington. Although we probably come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, I find her to be the only voice out there focusing our attention on the growing underclass, our war on our children and the growing great divide between those amassing great fortunes and everyone else.

-- Wayne Fuller

Sooner or later, some commentators finally get it. Arianna Huffington has broken with the neo-cons and joined the harm-reduction mind-set in her approach our justice system. You go girl!

-- John Davis

Maybe Proposition 21 is a measure of prevention. I don't know how to justify letting kids commit adult crimes without the responsibility of enduring adult punishment. How is it that a car-jacking 17-year-old is a kid who needs some compassion and guidance, while an 18-year-old is a predator? Is it compassionate to let kids believe that criminal behavior doesn't have dire consequences? What greater disservice can you do a young person than let him grow up without a clear understanding of his responsibility to respect the people around him?

-- Kevin Tudish

Lord have mercy, Arianna Huffington is becoming one of the leading voices of reason on the planet, circa 2000. We are truly in Bizarro World now.

-- John Sharque

Dems debate while Republicans take late night

Having spent 30-plus years in and around the field of employment recruiting, I tend to view presidential politics differently, perhaps, than the electorate in general. In my mind, we are collectively conducting an employment search for a senior executive. Unfortunately, political pundits notwithstanding, nobody has educated us on how to do this. We keep getting lost in the woods as we become preoccupied with such titillating but inconsequential nonsense as implied bigotry, facial mannerisms and who has suffered most for his country!

Somebody, sometime has got to ask each one of the candidates the following question: "What is your understanding of the word 'govern'? Please give two or three specific and concrete examples of past experiences that demonstrate your ability to do so."

It would seem that in spite of our lack of acumen, over the last couple of centuries we've often gotten lucky and hired the right guy. But, as casino operators know, luck eventually expends itself.

-- Charles Pletcher

Two for the price of one

Pardon my simplicity, but wouldn't the primary system be somewhat more fair to voters if they all happened at the same time? The current system seems unfair to voters in states with later primaries, because their candidate could be so far behind in the delegate count that their state's primary is a pointless contest. If it were up to me, there would be three or four nationally televised debates, followed by a three-day period during which everyone would vote, and that would be that. This would also probably save money for the candidates because there would be limited whistle-stop campaigning outside the biggest states. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

-- Rich Engel

Primary suspect


The big problem with open primaries is the danger of mischief-making. Does anyone honestly believe that all of those Democrats who voted for McCain in Michigan will be with him in November if he is the nominee? If either party has a consensus candidate while the other party has a contested nomination, it is too easy to influence who the other party chooses.

Despite the mischief-making in the Big Two, the biggest danger I see is to the minor parties. Imagine Democrats voting in large numbers to choose a socialist as the Libertarian Party Candidate or Republicans voting to make a big polluter the candidate of the Green Party.

The same goes for statewide races. In the Senate race in California this year, Feinstein is running essentially unopposed for the Democratic nomination, while the Republicans have a battle. In my estimation Tom Campbell is the strongest candidate in a decidedly uphill battle against Feinstein. What if polls showed Feinstein in a close race with Campbell, but showed her swamping another candidate? What would stop Feinstein backers from supporting the weaker candidate in massive numbers?

If we are going to have political parties, then only the votes of people who have actually declared themselves as members should be able to vote in the primaries.

-- Ed Salas

Kiss off, Kate


Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying everything I had been wondering about whenever I read the New York Times pieces about the revival of "Kiss Me, Kate" at my West Hartford, Conn., breakfast table. Why any woman in her right mind in the 21st century would pay serious cash to go to a musical that included the heroine being physically humiliated and later singing a song about women being simple is beyond me. Adapter John Guare's gyrations in print about the sexism weren't convincing. While I can't comment about the lack of subtlety with which the play was directed, perhaps we should pull only what's salvageable (in this case, the music) and discard the rest. It would be kinder to both the playwrights and the audience. I'm sick of being told that I lack a sense of humor (Wilson's analogy about black people is right on the mark) about how women are depicted in various cultural media, so I basically just stay away. It's easier on the psyche and cheaper to boot.

-- Bev Arcaro

Unlike Cintra Wilson, I thought Broadway's production of "Kiss Me, Kate" was outstanding. The show is 50 years old and is much fresher than the "new" production of "The Scarlett Pimpernell" I saw the next night.
Cole Porter, excellent tunes and lyrics (and double entendres) that are funny five decade later -- it doesn't get much better than that. Makes me wonder how much Andrew Lloyd Webber people will be listening to 40 years from now. Not much, I'll bet.

Sorry the rude gestures offended you, Cintra. Lighten up.

-- Woody Browne

I like 'em short

As a woman who is 5 feet, 1 inch tall, I must agree that I also like 'em short. There is nothing like being able to walk down the street with your boyfriend with your arm around his shoulder. Anything more than 5 inches taller than me is stretching it, as it were. My current boyfriend is over 6-feet tall, and I stand on my tiptoes a lot.

I'm surprised that the author didn't point out the statistical evidence that shows that shorter people in general actually live longer. This would seem to make them even more appealing as partners.

-- Jane Creighton



As talented as Cher might be, her best days as an actress are behind her. After way too many plastic surgeries, this woman with her once-beautiful bone structure has morphed herself into something that looks like a monkey in a wind tunnel. She may go on singing; I hope she does. But she's sure to find that the ability to create facial expressions would have been more beneficial to her acting career than a lineless face.

-- Eve Golden

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