Irvine 11: The Muslim students, meeting with one of their attorneys, were… (Gina Ferazzi, Los Angeles…)
The rule of law
Re "Punishing the 'Irvine 11,' again," Editorial, Sept. 25
You claim that the punishment meted out to the group of UC Irvine students for disrupting a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren last year was too harsh. Silencing the free-speech rights of another, particularly an invited guest of the university, is more serious than a college prank.
I could possibly agree with you if only one or two students were involved. But the disruption was planned in advance. It is long past time to set an example for those who wish to squash the free-speech rights of others. Those who deny free-speech rights to others must pay a price sufficient to send the message that mob rule will not be tolerated.
The lack of proportionality in the UC Irvine students is disturbing on many levels. These students were disciplined by the university, and their organization, the Muslim Student Union, was suspended. This would seem sufficient, given the fact that there was never any violence. The Israeli ambassador was able to continue his speech after the students agreed to leave the forum when told to do so.
"Tea party" members have been shown disrupting and insulting speakers whom they find objectionable. And not only have none of them been charged with 1st Amendment violations, but in some quarters they are lauded for their passion.
In front of the Santa Ana Central Library, a stone's throw from the courtroom where the conviction took place, there is a statue of Alex Odeh, the Palestinian advocate murdered for his beliefs. I wonder if statues can bear tears?
The Times appropriately agrees that the students' conduct was illegal. However, the editorial should have noted that the students will have an opportunity to expunge their records after fulfilling their probation terms. Thereafter, they may legally answer "no" to any questions regarding criminal conviction.
Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas should be praised for filing criminal complaints in both this and the Fullerton officers' case, demonstrating the wisdom and evenhandedness of his office.
Nina Rose Brice
They won't take no for an answer
Re "There's no sign of a deal in the Capitol," Sept. 26
The Republicans' one-note song of "no, no, no" makes it appear as if they are, once again, trying to frighten the American public into getting on board their little red political wagon.
During the George W. Bush years, the Republicans tried to frighten Americans into giving up some basic freedoms. Now they are trying to frighten the public with recurring threats of shutting down the government if they don't get their way.
It's either their way or the highway; oh, that's right, they don't want to fund those either.
When will congressional Republicans be held accountable for their obstructive ways? Disaster relief needs to be fully funded so the people affected by Hurricane Irene can rebuild their lives.
Congressional Republicans need to called out or recalled if they fail to fulfill their duties.
Re " 'Buffett Rule' a bust here," Column, Sept. 22
I'm glad to read that California was not as stupid in writing income tax laws as the Republicans in Congress. But Warren Buffett had a special kind of unfairness reserved for California. He took aim at our property tax laws.
Buffett once pointed out that the taxes on his house in Orange County were less than his neighbors' because they bought their homes at a peak while he had bought his years ago. His rule for California is to get rid of Proposition 13.
Without a stable property tax, we can never tax incomes enough to properly balance our budget.
Make Iraq pay
Re "Iraq, minus the U.S.," Editorial, Sept. 22
While most Americans are saying "enough already" to spending another nickel to keep troops in Iraq to secure our gains, and while total withdrawal would probably result in bloody turmoil, what should we do when Iraqi authorities plead for a resumption of our
I say, charge 'em. Sure, let's send troops, drones and weapons back, but at a cost to them in money or oil — just like we sell other nations planes, ships and ammo.
Iraq and the U.S. are square after 10 years of spending our blood and treasure. If it needs us to avert war, Iraq must purchase what security it needs from us while we're struggling to rebuild our economic foundation.
Re "Getting the word to the illiterate," Column One, Sept. 22
It was with a good deal of sadness that I read Robyn Dixon's article about the significant portion of South Africa's townships and squatter camps that seem to have a cultural bias against reading. Reading is often seen as "un-African" and "not cool."