Raise minimum wage
I read with interest “Raising the minimum wage is a national battle” by Julia Weaver (PWW 5/20-26). Raising the minimum wage is a badly needed change for the reasons she cites. An error, however, was the statement that four states have raised their minimums; the current number is 17 or 18, plus D.C.
You might be interested in the array of information on “Raising the National Minimum Wage: Information, Opinion, Research” at www.raiseminwage.org.

Brock Haussamen
North Branch NJ

No difference
I shudder at the demise of George W. Bush from, and the ascendancy of Hillary Clinton to the presidency. It seems to be a Hobson’s choice, with no clear alternative of returning our nation to the independence it once enjoyed under the Founding Fathers. At age 78, I have lived through many presidencies starting with Roosevelt. I could never understand the steady drift away from national independence both during Democrat and Republican administrations over the generations.
Then I bought the book by professor Carroll Quigley called “Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time” (1975) and found out why this is going on. It is not by happenstance; in fact, it follows a design advocated by Quigley. The late Georgetown University professor explained: “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.”
I think the solution is to get the American people as a whole to understand this process before anything can be done.

Frank M. Pelteson
Las Vegas NV

On immigration
After President Bush said the national anthem should be sung only in English, a progressive radio host I was listening to not only said (as your editorial did) that he had sung it in Spanish while courting Latino voters, but she also made the humorous and sarcastic-but-true comment that he should try learning how to speak English too. Yes, Bush is using the “illegal” immigrant issue to divide us and divert our attention from more important issues like the Iraq war, his illegal wiretaps and illegally disclosed phone call records, oil industry thievery, his disdain for democracy and our Constitution, his abandoning of New Orleans, his threats to the environment and to all life itself.
But while I’m progressive, I’m not sympathetic to the notion that people who come here illegally should be referred to as “immigrant,” because the word presumes legal status. But with Bush’s not-so-tacit invitations for them to come, and Bill Clinton’s complicity in passing the NAFTA that helped destroy the jobs Mexico used to have for its people, it’s wrong for us to say they shouldn’t come here to work.

A reader
Wanaque NJ

Missing May Day
The red flag and its hammer and sickle are symbols of tomorrow. We can celebrate a new day singing the “The International,” joining our brothers and sisters in song, heard round the world on May 1. I thrill to see the world’s working class celebrate, with photos in the People’s Weekly World. I miss seeing the flags, the songs, and the ecstasy of this past May Day pictured on your pages.

Paul Gershowitz
Albuquerque NM

Disagreement on Duke story
I was disappointed in the “Not This Time: Rape, Race, and Class at Duke” article by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (PWW 4/15-21) which appeared on the opinion page. It unfortunately repeats many of the presumptions and prejudices that have been directed against the lacrosse team by all segments of the national media. We do not know what happened that night, and there is no reason to discount the testimony of the team members in favor of that of the victim. There has been an incredible rush to judgment that has resulted in the arrest of two young men, both of whom may not have even been at the party that night. This whole situation is turning into a game, fueled by the ambitions of the district attorney standing for re-election in racially mixed Durham in a few months. The PWW has no place contributing to the perfect storm of public opinion which has been entirely directed against the Duke lacrosse team, as this has resulted in the jailing of two possibly innocent young people. It does not matter if these young men are athletes, if they are white, or if they are rich. This is a question of justice, and the PWW should not allow itself to be blinded by prejudice and stereotyping.

Matt Murtagh
Washington DC

Denise Winebrenner Edwards responds: I appreciate your letter. It made me stop and think. The main point I wanted to make is a united voice — Black and white, men and women, university and community — can bring justice. Unfortunately, the case is news because in the majority of rape cases where the victim is African American the case is not pursued by law enforcement. Chances are good that the DA would not have dreamed of taking the word of a “stripper” over that of Duke students if it had not been for the united town and gown outcry.
The voices of the young woman and the young men, three of whom have now been indicted, can be heard as well. Something did happen that night, which put the victim in the hospital. The jury will decide.
It is a charged atmosphere where race and class collide in allegations of a sex crime. No one is safer if a serious investigation is not conducted. But it is never as simple as the electronic media captures in clichés and sound bites. I tried not to paint with the same wide brush.