ALL EDITIONS SECTION: EDITORIAL; Pg. 032 LENGTH: 713 words HEADLINE: Letters BODY:
Border policy key
The attacks on London were frighteningly reminiscent of 9/11 (July 11).
I am sympathetic for those who lost family and friends; however, Britain has a fairly lax border policy similar to the United States. We need to clamp down on potential terrorists who either enter legally or sneak across our borders in Mexico and Canada.
We are at war in Iraq, rightfully so, but we should not forget to fight this war with proactive measures at our borders.
Christine Powers, Waltham
No parole for pedophiles
Dylan Groene from Idaho may become another statistic and yesterday's news (``Remains ID'd as missing 9-year-old boy,'' July 11). He fell to the hands of a madman who had a lengthy history of sexual crimes. These pedophiles are constantly released from prison only to re-offend. Studies say there is no cure for pedophilia. The sentences for these vermin should be no less than life without parole.
Finally two police chiefs muster the courage to enforce our immigration laws (``Illegal immigrant challenges criminal trespass law,'' July 12). Long overdue! I applaud these chiefs for doing what the Immigration and Naturalization Service, President Bush, and the Senate and Congress haven't had the guts to do. Americans are not against immigrants, but rather want the process to be respected.
Paul E. Dennehy Jr., Sharon
Eagan on call
A brief comment on Margery Eagan's column: It is utter hubris to imply that a reduction in the scope of cellular phone networks will thwart terrorist attacks (``T hangs up on common-sense security,'' July 12). Mobile phones do not work on most of the London Underground, certainly not at the site of the King's Cross blast.
It is abundantly obvious that terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States (and no doubt elsewhere) are carefully planned; whatever the most reliable triggering mechanism is will be used, be that a timer, pager, cell phone or person. Removing the option of cell phone triggers will make no difference to the risk of attack. It is arguable that the situation would actually be worsened as the removal of the cellular option also removes a method controlling one of the many possible triggering mechanisms.
I speak as someone who has lived in London under terrorism for 33 years (my father was very nearly killed by the IRA's Harrods bomb), and I do not take prevention lightly. Also, there are no trash containers on the London Underground, nor at London mainline stations; attendants patrol the network and the stations with mobile garbage collection trolleys to control litter. The most blastproof trash container is one that is not available for the blast. Prevention of terrorism measures must have tangible effects; otherwise they serve no purpose other than to provide a false sense of security, or worse, no security but a restriction on our social and economic freedoms - one of the principle aims of terrorism.
Barnaby Prendergast, Charlestown
Hillary gone mad
Sen. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party are still up to their same old tricks - name calling (``Hillary on prez: Hello Neuman!,'' July 12). Love or hate him, George Bush is the president of our country and demands a certain level of respect. Hillary should be ashamed. She is using the same strategy as Sen. John Kerry as she offers criticism without solutions. If she is the best the Democratic Party can muster, they better get used to four more years.
Ed Perelli, Malden
No place for extremes
I was puzzled by the intent behind the hateful and misogynist cartoon of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (July 7). I thought it bordered on anti-Semitic, to say the least. Then I heard a news report that the strategy of the extreme right was to define Ginsberg as an extremist liberal who was confirmed without Republican opposition. Therefore, Democrats are now obliged to allow another extreme conservative onto the highest court.
But Ginsburg was put forth for the Supreme Court by conservative Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch. How far from mainstream can she be?
Extremism, from either the left or right, has no business controlling our most sacred institutions. Our brave soldiers are fighting abroad against extremists. We owe it to them not to allow extremism at home. Leroy Johnson, Jamaica Plain LOAD-DATE: July 14, 2005
ALL EDITIONS SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 016 LENGTH: 245 words HEADLINE: War calling fewer part-time troops BYLINE: By THOMAS CAYWOOD BODY:
As the Pentagon's reliance on part-time soldiers to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan has ebbed over the past two years, the numbers of Bay State reservists and guardsmen on active duty has dropped more than threefold.
As of last week, roughly 1,350 part-time soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen from Massachusetts reserve and Guard units were serving on active duty in the United States or abroad, according to a Herald review of Pentagon records.
The number of deployed Bay Staters is down sharply from more than 4,600 during the buildup to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
``It has turned into a more steady flow of activations as opposed to the sudden high peak we saw in the beginning,'' said Lt. Col. Paul Smith, a spokesman for the Massachusetts National Guard.
``It's getting to be a much more orderly process.''
Even so, the Massachusetts Guard still has several units in harm's way in Iraq at any one time.
Michelle Hanzel of Chicopee, whose husband, Staff Sgt. Steffen Hanzel, is there with the Massachusetts National Guard's 42nd Military Police Company, said she just wants her husband home as soon as possible to see their baby grow and develop.
``It doesn't matter what I hope and what I think. They do what they want. I'm used to that. It's the needs of the military,'' she said.
``I'm a little anxious,'' Hanzel added, as her baby boy cooed in the background. ``I just wish they would send them home soon. This little guy is so grown up, and he's so fabulous.'' LOAD-DATE: July 12, 2005
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The Boston Herald July 12, 2005 Tuesday
ALL EDITIONS SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 004 LENGTH: 618 words HEADLINE: LONDON ATTACKED;
T hangs up on common-sense security BYLINE: By MARGERY EAGAN BODY:
In the wake of last week's London terror bombings, New York's Port Authority, ``as a safety precaution,'' disconnected cell phone service in the Holland and Lincoln tunnels.
But here in Boston, we're doing the exact opposite, installing cell phone service in tunnels and T stations where we don't yet have it. Terror, schmerror.
The beleagured Massachusetts Turnpike have-leak-will-travel Authority is going ahead with plans for cell phone service in the Interstate 93 tunnel and Pike extension under Fort Point Channel - the only Big Dig tunnels now without it.
The MBTA is going wireless downtown - Park Street, Downtown Crossing, Government Center and State Street - and the tunnels connecting those stations. They'll get $4 million over 15 years from the company installing the wireless. Meanwhile, the FCC and FAA may soon lift the cell phone ban on airplanes.AIRPLANES!
What is wrong with this picture?
Is New York the only terror magnet with a bureaucratic brain?
``Service will remain off until further notice,'' Port Authority spokesman Tony Ciavolella said yesterday. ``Bottom line . . . safety.''
True, investigators in London now believe the subway bombs were probably detonated with timers, not cell phones. Also true, the way things are going with the I-93 tunnels, we're more likely to drown there than be blown up.
But the Madrid train blast that killed 191 in 2004? Detonated by cell phone. The Bali blast that killed 202 in 2002? Cell phones. Fourteen dead and 150 wounded in 2003 at the Jakarta Marriott? Cell phones.
So why not limit, intead of expand, terror options at Park Street? Given the choice of winding up a smithereen or wrapping up my oh-so-important cell call, I'd sacrifice the cell call every single time.
In these perilous times, is this really too much a sacrifice to ask?
``On the T, I think it's a risk-benefit analysis,'' said one local wag. ``How many (riders) are we gonna lose to get our $4 million?'' And if it's just a few conventioneers from, say, Arkansas, ``maybe that's a risk we're willing to take.''
Jon Carlisle, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, surely holds precious any and all conventioneers. However, we can't ``dismiss out of hand'' the $4 million benefit because the T's in ``dire financial straights.'' He also said ``convenience'' and ``security'' (using cell phones to report odd behavior or unattended packages, etc.) outweigh the threat of cell phones as terror tool.
The MBTA's Joe Pesaturo said, ``We often hear from customers who travel alone and feel more comfortable knowing they could use their cell phone on the subway.'' He and Carlisle both said picture cell phones can help investigators. Yet comparing the London cell phone shots with shots from underground cameras makes that argument the weakest of their other weak points, including this: The T system being installed can be turned off in an instant should catastrophe warrant.
But by then it'll be too late, won't it?
Here's the thing: The papers this weekend were a hit parade of all the government's not done to make even modest progress in homeland security since 9/11. One dismal statistic from ``Meet the Press'': We've spent $500 million total on transit security in four years. We spend that every three days in Iraq.
Nothing's foolproof, we know. Yet here's a common-sense choice: to install, or not, cell phone service in places where it will surely annoy thousands and possibly be used to murder hundreds. And here are state officials rushing in, absolutely wrong.
The Turnpike's Doug Hanchett reminded me that despite last week's torrential rain, ``as we button things up, we didn't have a single problem'' in the I-93 cheesecloth tunnnel. That's something, I guess. GRAPHIC: CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? A woman talks on her cell phone yesterday near MBTA tracks. Despite terror concerns, the T is going wireless downtown. STAFF PHOTO BY MIKE ADASKAVEG LOAD-DATE: July 12, 2005
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ALL EDITIONS SECTION: EDITORIAL; Pg. 024 LENGTH: 568 words HEADLINE: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR BODY:
Capuano being coy
Rep. Mike Capuano just does not get it (``London attacked; Analysts see boost for Bush,'' July 8). He says there is no connection between the al-Qaeda that we are fighting in Iraq - the al-Qaeda that admits it killed the Egyptian ambassador to Iraq - and the al-Qaeda that murdered dozens in London.
Candidate for governor Deval Patrick got it right when he questioned whether the MCAS alone is the appropriate measure for adequately educating the whole child. (``Gov, AG on MCAS common ground,'' July 8). And, unfortunately, Attorney General Tom Reilly is shortsighted in agreeing with Gov. Mitt Romney that adding a science MCAS requirement will automatically improve science education.
The Democratic Party platform has stated that MCAS alone is not a fair and equitable way to measure student progress. Patrick displays a deeper understanding of how children learn - they must be engaged by science, not taught to a test. I urge Patrick to continue to demonstrate the political courage to speak out.
Kathleen Parker is a wonderful columnist (``Miller is sacrificing her freedom for ours,'' July 10). However, I cannot agree with her viewpoint that all reporters, and Judith Miller in particular, are heroes for protecting unnamed sources.
What I find most offensive are reports that place innocent people in danger, put our troops in danger, encourage more Muslim atrocities and attempt to control public opinion or elections - and are attributed to ``unnamed sources.''
When there are no sources cited, the information becomes gossip at best and dangerous at worst.
- Richard Maranville, Raynham
Throw book at Novak
Robert Novak identified Joseph Wilson's wife Valerie Plame as a CIA agent (``Prosecutor's net snares reporter,'' July 7). He was the one who committed the crime but the special prosecutor went after Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper, and actually put Miller in jail. Meanwhile Teflon Robert Novak conducts his business as usual and goes around keeping his head high. Where is the outrage?
- Bijan Afshartous, Lexington
Manly draws dissent
I'm not sure how accurate it is to characterize then-Chief Justice Earl Warren's opinion in 1954's as ``judicial activism,'' as columnist Howard Manly does (``Judicial activism is simple justice,'' July 8). There was nothing activist about Brown; the ruling was a constitutionally sound corrective to the earlier judicial activism of 1896's Plessy vs. Ferguson, in which constitutional principles were distorted by those who wanted to give a judicial imprimatur to white supremacy.
A reasonable parallel can be drawn between Plessy and 1973's Roe vs. Wade;just as Plessy endorsed the notion that a black person had no rights that a white person was obligated to respect, so too did endorse the notion that an unborn child had no rights its parents were obligated to respect.
African-Americans rejoiced when the court finally determined that Plessy was a perversion of constitutional principles, and advocates for the unborn will similarly rejoice if and when the court decides that Roe was actually an affront to constitutional tenets, and not an affirmation thereof.
- D.R. Tucker, Boston LOAD-DATE: July 12, 2005
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ALL EDITIONS SECTION: EDITORIAL; Pg. 024 LENGTH: 708 words HEADLINE: Letters to the Editor BODY:
The scoop on meters
A Herald phone call to the Boston Transportation Department would have provided the following facts (July 7).
At least 92 percent of meter outages are due to vandalism. Outages are only discovered in person. Even with 7,000 meters, BTD inspected over 493,000 last year and made 144,000 repairs. BTD tested multi-space meters (included in next year's budget) and found they could alleviate our problem through a one-time cost. The cost to hire four more employees in our meter repair division would be over $130,000.
We are buying 25 multi-space parking meters, not eight, with wireless transmission that will alert us to repairs. There are 153 missing meters, not 550 as Finance Commission Executive Director Jeffrey Conley claims. We have procured 500 new single head-meters as replacement and backup.
- Thomas J. Tinlin, Acting Commissioner, BTD
A roar against zoo
According to the Herald, a veterinarian at the Franklin Park Zoo is still looking into possible causes for Cliff the lion's failing health (``Franklin Park Zoo lion victim of mystery illness,'' July 4). I suggest zoochosis as a likely contributor.
A worldwide study of zoos conducted by the Born Free Foundation revealed that zoochosis is rampant in confined animals. The affliction has elements of boredom, lack of privacy, minimal opportunity for mental stimulation or physical exercise. Especially for animals like lions that travel considerable distances, the lack of space and the challenge of the hunt is a distinct but obvious hardship.
Cliff is one of many animals exhibited for exploitation - not for conservation, nor for education. Lions are not endangered. Zoo visitors do not learn about the rich, active lives and behaviors of lions in the wild by gawking at Cliff in his relatively sterile setting.
- Harriet E. Baker, Quincy
-Mother offers thanks
I write to show my appreciation for those who directly or indirectly contributed to the rescue of my son, Justin Muomah, from the train tracks (``Autistic boy, 6, rescued from T tracks,'' July 2). I especially thank the unidentified gentleman who went out of his way save Justin, and I pray that God rewards him abundantly.