Boxer rebellion

Hats off to California Sen. Barbara Boxer for being the only senator to join with several representatives of the House, standing up for thousands of Ohio disenfranchised voters. More kudos to Boxer for raising important objections to Secretary of State designee Condoleeza Rice. Boxer’s fellow Californian, Sen. Feinstein, obliged herself to support and introduce Ms. Rice.

Most Democratic leaders, starting with Kerry and the Democratic National Committee, appear to be hiding under their desks, ignoring the disenfranchised voters and the 750,000 voices for peace demonstrating with students, unions and human rights groups at the Republican Convention in New York in 2004, and in the Democrats’ Boston “dog pens.”

Rohn WebbMelba ID

Likes new look

The first two issues of the re-designed PWW have arrived at our co-op bookstore and I want to congratulate you and the three staff members who performed the task on a job well done. It is very attractive to look at and easier to read. The sidebar on the front page is very helpful and is pleasing to look at in part, at least, because of the variety of colors. I am no typographer, but the print seems clearer and easier to read than before. Just as an aesthetic object, the whole thing is nicely done and makes one eager to get to reading it.

Everyone I know who gets the paper here agrees with me in these sentiments. I hope that these changes will go a long way towards increasing your readership. Thank you all very much.

On a slightly critical but friendly note, I wish you guys would change the name of the paper, even if only slightly. In English syntax “People’s Weekly World” is a bit of a mouthful, a little harder to say than, say, “Weekly People’s World.” Actually, I do not like the “People’s” part at all as it seems to me that it smacks too much of nostalgia for the ’30s and early ’40s. It feels outdated to me. Several others here agree with me on this.

Donald Todd Via e-mail

Academy ignores best

The Oscar nominations have been announced in Hollywood. Once again, we who have been angry at the Motion Picture Academy since they snubbed “Reds” in 1983 are again overtaken with furious indignation. Neither “Hotel Rwanda,” “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “Kinsey,” nor “A Very Long Engagement” are up for best picture! “Long Engagement,” probably the best anti-war film made since the Vietnam period, didn’t even get a shot at best foreign film!

Just look at the actual nominees: there’s a long tribute to one of America’s craziest and most capitalistic entrepreneurs, another young contender boxing movie, another coming-of-age story about middle-aged white men, a sweetly told story about reserved friendship among the English gentility, and the triumph of a rock ’n roll idol. This is not to say they weren’t good movies and very well done, but, with the exception of the fight against racism in “Ray,” what did they mean?

Every good artistic experience interacts with us and makes us different. Movies are the ultimate viewing experience, and all good movies have that artistic effect. But great movies make us better. They nudge us along on the path toward the sensitive and caring people that we can become. Why can’t that count in the “best picture” category?

Jim LaneDallas TX

Drug law reform

On Dec. 14 New York Gov. George Pataki signed the new reformed drug law. Nobody has any word on when this law would be implemented. My son is at Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility (upstate N.Y.) and is a candidate for release. Although the provisions clearly state that he should be allowed additional “merit time,” he hasn’t had his new time adjustment nor has anyone spoken to him about it.

Was this drug reform signing by Pataki just a political trick of some sort? I can’t get a handle on it. Would you please look into this for all these sorry inmates waiting to come home to their families?

Carol AnnVia e-mail

Still doesn’t like George W.

Our service families are paying a very high price for our president’s occupation of Iraq. It would help the survivors deal with the stuff of life if they were given realistic death benefits. There is no amount of money that can replace a dead mate, but $250,000 would help raise and educate children. It is a good idea and I hope it is implemented.

Cletis BeegleTucson AZ

Who or whom?

Whether or not I fully support the political position of the PWW, I certainly am opposed to lousy grammar! “For” is, of course, a preposition. Therefore, the object of the preposition is “whom.” It would be of interest to know how many (if any) readers winced when they read this headline (PWW 1/29-2/4).

Irv Jacobs San Diego CA

Rehabilitation needed in prisons

What are the objectives of our nation’s prisons? Is it to reform and rehab the offenders who one day will be released to society? Or is it simply to warehouse offenders in an environment where they may learn a new set of values, or better ways to commit crime?

If we choose to believe it or not, we must admit, our prison system is a failure. We are not rehabilitating offenders at all. What we are doing is breeding stronger, smarter criminals. I am for longer sentences. We must show offenders the fruit of their actions will be a prison sentence. However, out of sight, out of mind does not work where prisons are concerned.

The majority of offenders upon release do not hold even the most basic life skills. Prisons can, and should, assist in efforts to re-enfranchise former felons. Develop collaborative partnerships to assist in providing services such as skill-set training, tutoring, pre-release counseling, as well as educational services that go beyond a GED. As well as identify and assess appropriate offender re-entry programs, and lend support when necessary. We must work to help educate those who are at risk in our society before they embark upon a life of crime.

We must also educate and rehabilitate those already in our nations prison systems. Then, and only then, will we start to see significant changes in the mindset of our nation’s inmate populations, as well as an overall reduction in crime.

Steven CottinghamEl Paso County Detention Facility
El Paso TX