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Letters to the Editor

What Debate?

Torture has many purposes unrelated to intelligence gathering. You humiliate, terrorize, blackmail, coerce and demoralize your victims and their communities. You create bogus "intelligence" by getting your victim to say what you want, with a few hints ("Yes, Saddam Hussein is in league with Al Qaeda"). You also dehumanize and debase yourself and your own people. This purpose has now been successfully achieved in America. We are actually having a national debate on torture. How naive I must be! I didn't think there was anything to debate.

What's next, a national debate on rape? ("Rape: Bad Policy or Necessary Evil?"). And slavery? ("The Middle Passage: Injustice or Voyage to Prosperity"?). We can't forget crucifixion. ("Crucifixion: Barbarism or Enhanced Penalty Option?") And by the way, nobody went back and punished Pontius Pilate, so why should we prosecute our own torturers?

Oh, wait a minute ...

Josh Reilly,

Ben Lomond

Define 'No'

Many voted no in the special election not to protest more taxes but to reject confusing shell games with state funds and demand a real fix to California budget problems. First, let's revisit property taxes. Prop. 13, designed to keep home owners from losing their homes as property taxes rose beyond their means to pay, was forecast as a disaster for education and local services. We're in the midst of that disaster. Writing a bill that keeps a safety provision for primary residences but allows counties to tax commercial and corporate property at it's actual value would provide a steady revenue stream to schools and local services.

Next, change drug laws and super-punitive sentencing laws that result in millions going to keep people who are dangerous only to themselves behind bars for years. The criminal justice budget is higher than the social services budget. Let's put the pressure on our state officials to stop holding us hostage to their political bickering and show some real leadership. I do believe my students at the SRJC could work together more constructively and creatively to design a budget that provides the services we need without taxing the people who can't afford more taxes.

Judy Helfand


All That Jazz

Kudos to the reporter Alastair Bland ("The Ultimate Download," Cover Story, May 20). I wondered how he would present all the scientific data, microbiological nomenclature and procedures to a public largely without a science background.

The story is easy to read and understand without all that jazz.


Kingsley Okeke

Los Banos

More Kudos

I was really impressed by the depth of the reporting for this article! ("Teens and Porn," Cover Story, May 27.) This was comparable with The New York Times or any paper! Wow! Kudos to you and Ms. Lussenhop—although I was reading until the end, hoping for answer, yay or nay, what is good, what is bad? but I guess there are no easy answers in life, and the data is not there yet.

Sophia Yen


Cut It Out!

I find this person's opinions and rude attitude ("I Saw You," any issue) to be very offending!! I don't think that this should be published anymore, and if it is I will stop reading the publication.