Letters |

Cut Cheney's money

Re: Rep. Rahm Emanuel's proposal ("Tactic for getting a Cheney admission," Tuesday) to cut appropriations to the office of the vice president until it is determined what branch of government Cheney belongs to:

Kudos to the Illinois Democrat. I am in total disbelief at the audacity of the statement on behalf of the vice president that he is not a member of the executive branch.

I learned where his office falls in the order of government during my 11th-grade American government class. If he doesn't know, then maybe he should return to high school for a refresher. I agree wholeheartedly that funds should be suspended to his office, (including his salary) until it is determined where his office belongs. If he doesn't work for us, he shouldn't be paid by us.

Yusef O'Bannon

Stifling free speech

I could not disagree more with the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in the student speech case ("Bong hits 4 Jesus"), or with Claude Lewis' support for that decision in his column Wednesday - though in the spirit of the First Amendment I would defend to the death Lewis' right to express his opinion!

We have seen in recent years how slippery the slope is when our constitutionally guaranteed civil rights are eroded for one justification or another. Almost a century ago the court established the yardstick of "clear and present danger" to determine when an individual's right to free speech might be abridged. The Alaska student's prankish banner certainly did not rise to that standard.

In its landmark Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) decision, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the Des Moines district had violated the First Amendment by suspending students for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam war. "It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate," the majority affirmed. I agree, now more than ever.

John Khanlian


Appointing judges

Your editorial Tuesday ("Merit, not money") urges merit appointment of judges in part to remove the seamier political aspects from the process. Unfortunately, it would do no such thing.

Exhibit A? The Honorable Midge Rendell. Though she was apparently a competent attorney, and has served honorably and well on the federal bench, I believe there is simply no way she would ever have been appointed in 1993 if her husband had not been a big-city Democratic mayor who was a political ally and personal friend of President Clinton's.

Appointing judges does not remove politics from the process. It simply puts those politics behind closed doors.

Michael Kubacki

Political acting

Concerning Dick Polman's comment last Sunday ("Thompson auditioning for role of GOP savior") that Fred Thompson is trying to "collapse the permeable wall that separates stagecraft from statecraft," hasn't Polman viewed the recent Hillary Clinton film short aping the Sopranos? What wall? Talk about scripted, talk about folksy, talk about media persona. That wall disappeared a long time ago. Get real.

Frances Rossi

Inspired by Weiss

I still remember reading Dale Mezzacappa's original report on the Belmont 112 as a soon-to-be college freshman in 1987. I was equally fascinated and inspired at the time, probably not grasping completely the magnitude of George Weiss' gesture. Twenty years later I am still just as captivated by Weiss and, now, by some of the beneficiaries of the program.

"Pieces of the dream" last Sunday provided another rush of emotions as I read about some of the lives involved. I am not sure what is more impressive, the academic accomplishments of Jarmaine Ollivierre or the social responsibility Majovie Bland has learned from Weiss. Sadly, 20 years later, neighborhoods like Mantua, where Belmont Middle School is located, seem even more desperately impoverished and recently violent. I hope "Say Yes to Education" continues to flourish in these neighborhoods.

Charles Haub