Shame on Foti

Thank you for a very objective and fair take on this horrible situation ("Charles Foti vs. The Memorial Three," Oct. 31). I think it's shameful what Attorney General Charles Foti has done to these women professionally and personally. It gives me a sick feeling in my stomach to see him use the travesty of Katrina for his own political gain. I think when all is said and done, and these women have been cleared, Mr. Foti should be held personally accountable for the damage he's done.

Jenn Biancato


Don't Ignore the Elephant

The article by Sam Winston ("They Were My Babies," Dec. 12) fails to address the "elephant in the room" regarding the epidemic of violent crime being committed by young black males and the culture of black females having multiple babies, often fathered by a different males, who have no interest in the child they have fathered beyond the sexual encounter.

Many of the children born of these relationships are then turned out on the street to fend for themselves with no parental involvement or guidance. Until our leaders have the courage to address this issue head-on, we'll continue to focus on the secondary causes of criminal behavior, such as poverty, poor education, few employment prospects, etc.

These contributing factors are easy to discuss in public forums because they paint the offenders as "victims of circumstance" rather than exposing the root cause. In fact, it is the children -- and those they kill -- who are the victims of the neglect of their mothers and absentee fathers. I could find no mention of a "father" in the entire article.

While the loss of a child, under any circumstance, is a burden no parent should experience, until mothers stop rationalizing the criminal behavior and record of their offspring (his mother insists he was a good kid) as "normal behavior" and take responsibility for raising them, we have no shot at changing anything.

Don Michael


The Problems of Carnivores

A recent report by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) titled "Livestock's Long Shadow -- Environmental Issues and Options," warns of the dire environmental consequences of the world's growing meat and dairy production.

According to the report, animal agriculture uses 30 percent of the earth's land surface for pasture and feed-crop production. It is the driving force in worldwide deforestation and wildlife habitat destruction, with 70 percent of the irreplaceable Amazon rainforest turned into pasture. Eventually, pastures are degraded into desert through overgrazing, compaction and erosion.

Animal agriculture contributes more pollution to our waterways than all other human activities combined. Principal sources are animal wastes as well as soil particles, minerals, organic debris, fertilizers and pesticides from feed cropland. Most of the world's water supplies are used for irrigating animal feed crops.

Animal agriculture is also a key source of man-made greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. According to the FAO report, 65 percent of nitrous oxide, the most damaging of these, is emitted by animal waste, and 37 percent of methane comes from cattle's digestive process. Operation of farm machinery and transport trucks accounts for 9 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

We don't have to wait for Earth Day to help save our planet. We can start with the next trip to the grocery store.

Nicholas Gruez

It's a New Day

A wave replaced six Republican incumbents and no Democratic ones. Start watching CSPAN once the new Congress takes over oversight on spending to see how the Republican Congress, for the past 12 years, has wasted and misused our tax dollars.

The Republicans wouldn't allow hearings on the war in Iraq because they knew we were lied into it, intentionally. This war is about control of the natural resources in the Middle East, with the icing of enriching the war profiteers: Bechtel, Haliburton, Parsons, Kellog Brown and Root, and the Carlisle Group. Oil, insurance, pharmaceuticals and banking/finance industries have reaped record-breaking profits by giving immoral amounts of money to Republican candidates who write laws that benefit them while harming us.

They insist that we will have to privatize Social Security in order to meet our obligations to our elderly and disabled. If we weren't paying trillions to war profiteers and subsidizing the other industries I mentioned, we'd be solvent forever.

Privatizing means the corporation makes the greatest profit while giving the least in services allowable by law. Ain't gonna happen now. Now we will become secure by rolling back the "welfare" we've given to the richest and taking the burden off of the middle and lower classes, where it is now.

We do all the work, pay all the taxes, fight all the wars -- and get less and less every year for it.

Shelley Thoppil

Carriere, Miss.

Dutch Treat

In the wake of Katrina, Louisiana sent a delegation to the Netherlands to study that country's incredible flood-protection system. They came back with a slough of good, albethem expensive, ideas. Unfortunately, they didn't look beyond sturdy dikes and civil engineering.

Holland is a liberal country in a liberal part of the world. For years, it's been at the vanguard of progressive social policy. From same-sex marriage to recreational drug use, its laws usually fall to the left of even California's. New Orleans, the epitome of laissez faire, should emulate the open-minded Dutch and adopt a few of these. In lieu of developments in the French Quarter, we might want to start with one of their more controversial decrees: legalized prostitution.

There are a number of reasons why we should consider such reform: taxed and regulated, it could be a huge economic windfall for the city; it is a victimless crime; some would argue that decriminalizing it could actually save lives; our bodies truly belong to us and as long as we don't hurt someone, we should be allowed to do as we please; money and resources spent rounding up prostitutes and pimps could be used to prevent murders and muggings; and it's who we are (Can you say "Storyville" and "House of the Rising Sun"?).

After the storm, our mayor suggested expanding casino gambling. The backlash was palpable. People balked, saying Nagin had gone too far. I say he didn't go far enough. New Orleans is an island, both physically and culturally. It should never aspire to be just another typical American city. It has way more in common with Amsterdam than it ever did with Des Moines, Iowa, or Toledo, Ohio. Let's import more from the Netherlands than just levee technology, chicory and tulips!

Folwell Dunbar

What's Up with Wal-Mart?

In August, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced a "partnership" with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. This means that Wal-Mart is now a "corporate member" of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).

According to The Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., this new partnership will involve at least the following three activities: A Wal-Mart vice president will now serve as an advisor to the NGLCC. Wal-Mart will now sponsor (pay for) some of the programs of the NGLCC, including two conferences. And Wal-Mart will go out of its way to purchase products from businesses with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered owners.

Why should any vendor get preference based on anything other than quality and price of their product?

In the past, Wal-Mart has sought to keep its reputation as a "family-friendly" store. The NGLCC, Wal-Mart's new "domestic partner," favors abolishing the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Everywhere that the American public has had the opportunity to vote to protect traditional marriage, it has done so overwhelmingly. Why has Wal-Mart chosen to forsake mainstream America?

The day I read about Wal-Mart's decision to become partners with the NGLCC, I had already been to a local Wal-Mart and made a purchase. The next morning, I returned my purchase with a copy of the article about Wal-Mart and the NGLCC. I would rather spend a little more money elsewhere than to support in any way the radical homosexual activists' attempts to destroy the American family, which could ultimately lead to the moral collapse of our nation.

Steve Casey Stonewall