Mr. Collums has a right to dislike Tom Tomorrow's satirical cartoons ("Letters," Nov. 27), but Mr. Tomorrow also has the right to express his views. Thank goodness -- particularly in times like these! I find it interesting that many people who quote the Constitution to support their freedoms would like to quell free speech if the views differ from theirs. Isn't freedom what we're fighting for?
Please continue publishing "This Modern World" if only to provoke "profound" letters such as Mr. Collums' ("Letters," Nov. 27), a remarkably constructed commentary -- as barely veiled threat -- that brings to mind the late Walt Kelly and his Pogo's own droll quotational twist: "We have met the enemy and he is us."
All too apparently, this warning is timeless -- and how so much more depressing, and truly terrifying, that realization is.
The Reason for 9/11?
For 50 years, the United States has supported Israel with money and arms and at the same time done business with Arab nations for oil. The worst enemies of the Arabs are the people of Israel, since the Israelis have been stealing Arab land and continue to do so. This is the real reason for Sept. 11, but the United States will never own up to its mistake. People like Mr. Collums ("Letters," Nov. 27) are too brainwashed to understand the truth about what the United States and Israel have done all these years.
Samuel Johnston said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." The United States backs up Israeli land theft because that's what the white men did to the American Indians and got away with it; the United States has helped the Israelis do the same.
Guarding Our Blood Supply
There has been extensive media coverage about the American Red Cross expiring thousands of pints of precious red blood cells following the Sept. 11 attacks. I would like to inform our community that this situation did not occur at The Blood Center. We scaled back our collections in the weeks following the tragedies to avert expirations. The Blood Center outdated less than 2 percent of the blood collected during this time frame. Furthermore, The Blood Center is not associated with the American Red Cross, nor does the American Red Cross collect blood in the state of Louisiana.
As the regional, nonprofit, independent supplier of blood and blood components to hospitals throughout south Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, The Blood Center takes great pride in making sure our community's blood supply is well managed at all times. We must remember the new battles patients face here at home and the possible needs of our troops. Our community must be prepared to respond at all times. Since blood only has a 42-day shelf life, it is important to remember that blood donors are needed each and every day to maintain an adequate supply.
President and CEO, The Blood Center
A Periodic Flaring
While driving last week on the Pontchartrain Expressway, I was contemplating the day's anthrax reports. Although only a very few people were exposed or at risk, it seemed the country was bordering on panic. I worried about the future. About this time, I noticed one of the most beautiful fall sunsets in a crystal-clear, cobalt-blue sky and was calmed by the natural beauty that still exists among apparent chaos. Then I noticed off on the horizon a plume of black, oily smoke rising hundreds of feet into the sky. I initially thought of a possible terrorist strike as I watched the black mass spread higher into the air. As it reached the upper atmosphere, the winds spread it northward across the horizon until it blanketed the whole sky with its dark ominous cloud. Seeing a flame of gigantic proportions as the source, I realized immediately that it was merely one of those periodic "flarings" that the petrochemical industry's many plants along the river frequently perform. Instead of a terrorist act, it was merely the release of tons of toxic carcinogenic substances into the air. I drove home breathing much easier.
A Bonsai Conservatory
Recently, I attended a meeting of the Audubon Commission at which a decision was made to demolish the Heymann Conservatory in Audubon Park in order to make a parking lot for the new golf club house.
Years ago, the Heymann family donated funds to establish that conservatory as a place of serenity, nature and beauty for the people of New Orleans. It would be a sad day in the history of Audubon Park and the city of New Orleans to see this gorgeous jewel demolished.
I would like to offer an alternative. With a little love and a little leadership, I feel that a bonsai conservatory could be established in that location. It would pay homage to the very essence of natural beauty and Audubon Park: the tree. Additionally, it could easily become one of the finest bonsai collections in the world. I personally would be willing to donate my collection of 75 trees to jumpstart the project. What a wonderful, easy and affordable alternative to the demolition of this rare place.
Charles O. Roy